Archive for August, 2008

Cinemalaya 2008 full-length films

Posted in Cinemalaya, film festival, film students, indie films, Philippine Cinema, UP Film Institute on August 18, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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pagsama-samahin ko na rin sa isang buhos para happy.

sige na nga, bago ko makalimutan, chichiryahin ko na ang cinemalaya full-length films.

in order of viewed films.

MY FAKE AMERICAN ACCENT
d. ned trespeces
s., p., ned trespeces, onnah valera
dop. jke see

pitch: about the lives of young and old call center agents, the newest kind of yuppies on the philippine scene

catch: camera handling needs polishing

i like this film, and not because mga kabarkada ko ang gumawa hehehe. kaya maiintindihan din nila (i hope 🙂 ) ang constructive criticism na sasabihin ko dito.

i like ned’s sensitivity as a filmmaker. his sensitivity as a scriptwriter shows kasi. his material is not that mainstream. it actually treads on that border between mainstream and independent, in terms of storytelling, story handling, (choices of) characterization, and narrative development. this is evident in his star cinema-produced script JOLOGS where multiple characters are given short times to interact with each other and to have each of their lives unfold a bit, creating a narrative chain that sustains the viewers’ interests from beginning to end. he utilized the same technique in TRABAHO, his first digital full-length, about the travails of jobhunting.

with this new film, he still utilizes the same sensibilities by unfolding the lives of call center agents. and i like the humor and wit; so contemporary kaya ride ka agad. i think that’s the charm of his material, and his films. and for me, that works. wala kang masyadong mabigat na three-act structure na aabangan (very indie) pero may makukuha ka pa ring narrative satisfaction in the end or within the course of the film (very mainstream) so best of both worlds talaga.

my glitch about this film is that bitin siya. i guess kung may mga ganitong naratibo, talagang mabibitin ka kapag konting panahon lang ang naiuukol sa mga karakter. pero kung kumpara sa TRABAHO, parang mas buo iyon in terms of narrative expectations. o siguro talagang naaliw lang ako sa MY FAKE kaya i want to see more.

glitch din ng kaunti ang handling sa character ni mailes kanapi, that team leader-manager (whatever it’s called) na bida. i’m not sure how mailes saw her role, pero parang caricature-ish ang treatment niya sa karakter niya (na very teatro ang dating for me) kaya parang na-off ako minsan. parang exag na hindi, parang OA na hindi. lam mo yun? basta, parang ganun ang pull-tug sa character attack. feeling ko nahihiya ang director to direct her baga. minsan talaga, may ganun.

yun ding camerawork minsan. may konting depokadong eksena na yung bg ang focused at ang fg ay hindi. sorry jke! pero i think this is really the folly of the digital technology e. kasi sa shoot ko sa gma, minsan ganyan din ang nangyayari sa cameraman. i wonder why. last na. once, nakita din ang reflection ng camcrew sa eksena. iwas lang sana! 🙂 peace, people.

well, yun lang naman. this is still highly recommended. i like that it doesn’t give a heavyhanded lecture on the pros and cons of call center life. casual lang, and that works well.

BABY ANGELO
d. joel ruiz and abi aquino
c. ces quesada, mark gil and a host of others

pitch: about the landlady’s search for the person who threw a fetus in the garbage near her apartment compound

catch: nasan ang naratibo?

what happened to the drained look of this film? it doesn’t really help the story at all.

as usual, storylines like this are not new. put different types of characters in one setting and let them interact. put a whodunit path para may konting tatakbuhan ang kuwento. and then end it. but how? ayan ang naging prublema ng film. it knew what to start with, when to start, but sustaining what it started was hard for the filmmakers. in the end, we just get an ending na…wala, kelangan lang tapusin. hindi siya bitin, kasi wala kang makagatang malaman na kuwento in the first place. it doesn’t work, sorry.

it doesn’t help din na the characters are expected na sa kanilang roles. masyadong cookie cutter na siya. yung iba naman, di mo alam ano purpose. yung iba, weird na out of character siya. i’m particularly iffy about those two garbagemen who were feeling icky and all that when they picked up the trash and saw a fetus inside. hindi na sila ganun kasensitibo sa mga napupulot at nakukuha nila sa trash! have you actually seen actual garbagemen pick up trash and all? ang weird lang nito sobra. hay.

sayang pera.

CONCERTO
d. paul morales
c. meryll soriano, shamaine buencamino, nonoy froilan, jay aquitania

pitch: about a wwII story of a family who hid in davao but has music as their refuge ek

catch: hindi kumeri ang pitch na to, kahit well-funded siya!

memoirs of a war nga ang pelikulang ito, tungkol sa isang pamilyang kung saan-saan napadpad kakatakas sa japs during the war, where their father endured hardships and all. sadly, hindi ito lahat nakikita. bagkus, nalalaman ito through expository dialogue na kinukuwento na lang ng mga karakters. eg “kawawa naman si tatay, dalawang taon siyang kinulong ng mga kempentai(sp?) at pinahirapan..” chenes. haysus. nagpelikula ka pa. sana bumili na lang ako ng kopya ng book na pinagbasehan nito, matutuwa pa ko.

tapos weird lang na musika eklat ang nagtatahi sa pamilya eklat para mabuhay chorva, e before the war, wla naman tayong nakitang ganoon kabigat o memorable na episodes kung saan music prominently figured in their lives (cross-reference: watch polanski’s THE PIANIST!), save from one scene or two na tumutugtog sa bahay ng piano si ate at sister at nakikinig ang boylet siblings. kaya sobrang walang impact yung na-ship na yung piano sa bukid na pinagtataguan ng family tapos they played pa a concerto sa bukid for the japanese soldiers na naging friendships na nila. hay! ang hirap! ang hirap tanggapin ng narrative unfolding nito. i’ll just read the book siguro… sayang ang akting. akting! weird din na parang may mga sexual tension ang characters, especially the siblings! ewan ko. may ganung feel. basta. o baka gutom na ko while watching this. hohum.

JAY
d. francis pasion
c. baron geisler

pitch: a gay reality tv news reporter follows the wake of a murdered gay man, twisting some truths and enhancing some facts all for the glory of tv ratings

catch: TUHOG REDUX, anyone?

the film is very talkative and aptly so, for the medium that it presents in the film (the world of television broadcast chuva, especially of the current affairs/public affairs type). however, i just find it too talkative sometimes that i need a breather/break from too much words. i wanted visuals.

visuals. yes, they’re here, and the camerawork is okay naman. very tv lang nga din ang approach at attack. sige, apt na rin sa kuwento.

actingwise, okay siya. nakakatuwa si baron lalo na yung nakikipaglandian siya kay coco martin, yung “basaan tayo. sasabunin kita” ek. hahahaha! typical! funny. he deserved the award.

the story is okay. contemporary, i guess, that’s why the foreign judges found it quaint. but for someone who has seen jeff jeturian’s TUHOG, it might be bothersome. kasi parehong-pareho ng handling. does it matter that tuhog’s scriptwriter was jay’s script consultant? i’m not sure if that was a good move on sir bing lao’s part. and the director thanking jeff during the screening was…weird.

it’s a kind of film you only see once, and that’s it. novelty ang dating. sayang. siguro the narrative handling could have made a difference in turning it into a timeless piece. pero parang…mahirap ata yun. talagang pang-here and now lang siyang pelikula. yes, sometimes merong ganun. at eto na nga yun.

HULING PASADA
d. paul sta. ana
c. agot isidro

pitch: a writer deals with the separation from her husband by writing her feelings and hardships into a fiction novel which we also see unfold along with her own narrative

catch: dumaan lang siya, yun na

it’s nice na ang isang pelikula ay nag-focus sa isang writer–at fiction writer pa!– bilang bida. tapos pinakita din ang kanyang sinusulat na kuwento sa atin. novel within a film. tapos nakita natin na ang mga karakter na nag-portray ng fictional characters niya ay ang “real-life” characters na nakakasalamuha niya sa buhay niya (hello shades of dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ). pero parang hanggang doon na lang ang charm ng pelikula.

ito yung film na dadaan lang sa iyo, walang masyadong major impact or emotional dent. hindi ko mawari kung bakit. ripe naman ang naratibo for plausible richer scenes, given the kinds of conflicts it presented. kaya lang parang dumaan lang talaga siya, just like the pasada ng taxi na siyang bida sa nobela sa pelikula. dumaan lang.

in fairness, magaling ang akting ng mga aktor. they were handled well. the camerawork i’m not too happy about. may off sa framing, lalo na yung nagsasalita ang characters tapos nasa edge tapos parang saliwa pag pinagdikit ang dalawang shots shot this way. basta. there’s something wrong about the visual language; medyo hindi pa siya hasa. passable, pero needs polishing sobra.

NAMETS
d. jay abello
c. christian vasquez, angel jacob

pitch: bacolod bred ex-lovers work together to find the right cuisine of their upcoming restaurant, and in a way find that that is the way to each other’s hearts. ek.

catch: saliwa ang camera handling te

cute itong film! one-time watch lang siya pero may novelty kahit papaano. that o baka biased lang ako dahil i love negrense (tama ba term?) cuisine. i heart bacolod and the food and the quaint surroundings and the diction of the ilonggos. tama, biased lang ako. hehe. i wanna be an honorary ilonggo kasi hahaha!

cute yung film. the story is simple: love story pero hindi siya a la star cinema-kilig factor, pero you still find yourself na kinikilig. it helps na siguro maganda ang onscreen chemistry ng actors. at ewan ko lang kung bakit pero when i saw angel jacob outside the cinema, hotness siya! kahit sa screen, hindi naman gaano. hahaha. now this is biased! hahaha. ewan.

in fairness, maganda ang film kahit na obviously rahrah pro-negros chorva ang materyal, pero ang maganda, hindi halata ang pagka-rahrah niya madalas, at hindi salamat-po-dept-of-tourism ang approach. although weird lang minsan yung character ni christian na chef chuva siya pero di niya ma-sense ang basic ingredients ng negrense cooking chuva. flaw itong malaki. sana ibang motivation na lang ang binigay sa kanya kung bakit hindi niya bet ang local cuisine nila in the first place. sayang.

off din ang camerawork dito. may eksenang nagsasagutan na ang lovers pero nakatalikod pa rin si gelay. among other shots. sayang. needs polishing.

all in all, its simplicity worked. hindi siya spectacular, hindi siya pang-award, mainstream ng konti ang sensitivity pero pumapatok naman. watch!

100
d. chris martinez
c. mylene dizon, eugene domingo, tessie tomas

pitch: a woman diagnosed with cancer lists the 100 things she should do before she dies, and does them

catch: BUCKET LIST, anyone?

sure, sure, what plot is original these days, eh. pero the handling of this story was good. so very good. madaming napanalunan ito, directing and script ata included. well-deserved. simple lang, polished in an upper middle class way (think early viva films of the 80s), and acted well. maganda yung nuances ng characters dahil lahat sila buong-buo, have a life of their own, and can stand alone when tested. okay siya. natulungan siya ng magandang script, yung good editing pulse at acting and direction. sample: yung scene na first time nadiskubre ng nanay ng may kanser yung sakit. nasa ospital at nakaratay si mylene, sabay pasok hagulhol si tessie at hyperventilate, cut to next shot nasa wheelchair na si mylene at si tessie na ang nakaratay sa hospital bed. hahahaha! simple yet well-executed in all counts. winner! nakakatuwa siya. at gusto ko ang script kasi witty rin siya, contemporary witty, contemporary witty na lasting, hindi lang pang-here and now ang quality. now that’s classic!

gusto ko rin na hindi heavyhanded ang mga eksenang dapat e sad, lalo na yung patukoy sa kanser niya. maganda yung pagka-casual ng treatment pero may weight pa rin, lam mo yun? basta, okay siya. nice. watch!

BOSES
d. ellen ongkeko-marfil
c. coke bolipata, ricky davao, cherry pie picache

pitch: a bitter violinist and a physically abused boy find bonding as healing via the music of their violins. ek.

catch: not so new narrative

the story’s not new. sampu sampera din ang ganitong seeking refuge of abused souls via art ek, especially music. marami nang films na ganito. what’s refreshing siguro dito is the superb talent of the child prodigy na naglalaro talaga ng violin. doesn’t require too much acting prowess din kasi pipi ang role niya. although minsan parang so unicef-heavy ang film na parang nakakairita na. pero maganda na may ganitong awareness sa pelikula. at maganda rin na ang approach ay walang tuldok sa abuser father na posibleng ma-reunite with the abused son later on. pero di na natin kelangang makita ito, kaya di na nila pinakita. open-ended. ang pinakita lang, ang superb violin playing prowess ng kid, and that’s that. simple. mentor-student narrative. no big expectations, and sometimes, that works. enjoy the film lang. yun na. it’s worth watching, if only to see coke bolipata act and his child prodigy play. nice siya.

RANCHERO
d. michael cardoz
c. archie adamos, garry lim

pitch: the story of the last day of a prisoner who serves as the prison cook

catch: parang nanatili siyang pitch

michael’s my former student sa upfi and i really like the way he handled his thesis short film. but playing the mainstream way might not be his biggest quality, as yet. i’m not sure what happened to this film (okay, i partly know hehe but i’m not telling!) kasi parang ang feeling e tinamad na siyang ituloy ang development ng kuwento (consequence ba ito?). maganda sana ang ina-achieve nitong “real-time mode” in unfolding of the narrative, pero dapat it was also well-choreographed in the way shots were made. we get the sense na pinapa-feel sa audience ang banality of life in prison, yung pagka-bagot, boredom ek. pero there’s a way of doing this, not just through making longtake babads with scenes without an emotional focus. sayang.

saka my biggest beef here is, hindi marunong maghiwa at magtalop ng foodstuff ang mga ranchero! dapat may konti silang culinary training before the shoot. kasi kung ang reason e preso sila at lalaki at wala talagang alam kaya nag-imbento sila ng sariling style, hindi ito akma. halatang hindi marunong maghiwa ng sibuyas man lang ang mga ito. at ang kapal nilang magbalat ng gulay! dapat alam na nila by now how to make tipid sa paghiwa para mas maraming laman di ba? hay. sorry maikel, avid fan ng lifestyle/food network ang lola mo kaya i can’t let this go. but the others, i think i can.

sayang lang ang ending. again, naratibong bitin ito. sayang, malaki pa naman ang potential ng material. sana hindi nabitawan ang development…

BRUTUS
d. tara illenberger
c. yul servo

pitch: mangyan children who work as helpers of illegal loggers in mindoro meet lots of “social issue” obstacles in their task

catch: nalunod sa NGO-ship ang kuwento

maganda sana sobra ang premise ng pelikula. it has an obvious statement on the environment, particularly illegal logging (although off lang yung music video-ish sa gitna na may modang ‘mahalin ang kalikasan chorva’ to the tune of a joey ayala song). but along the way, the story was marred by a wayward unfolding that left the story without a clear-cut focus.

it’s a simple story sana about two kids who want to make extra money the illegal way, by being “brutus” — people who bring the cut wood to the lowlads via hidden means. along the way, dami nilang nadaanan at bawat dinaanan e dagdag sa kuwentong nakapagpalayo ng konti o malaki sa main plot nila. i guess that’s the point: too many subplots na sinubukang i-resolve isa-isa at minsan nakakalimutan balikan ang main plot ng dalawang bata.

it doesn’t help din na ang mga dialogues dito mostly sound like advocacy pieces, lalo na when that waxing poetic of a character ni ronnie lazaro as the army soldier with a golden heart speaks his mind. tapos si yul servo andun din to speak for the NPAs and why their fight makes sense pa rin chuva. kaya lang for a neps, hindi siya magaling gumalaw sa bundok! ang labo. parang ma-o-off balance siya sa pag-step sa kahoy, sa bato, etc. wala siyang liksi ati. parang hindi niya alam kung san tatapak — and not because hindi siya familiar sa place kaya nagpatulong siya sa kids for directions. not to mention, as mentioned by another indie filmmaker somewhere, na ang bright color ng shirt niya, at bagong bago ang jeans! hihihi. nitpicking i know pero may point: that adds realism kasi to the story, kaya sana the production designer focused on having a believable and deliverable mise en scene. sayang.

high point ng film ay ang editing. i guess that is still tara’s strength, given the years of service niya editing mainstream full-lengths. that one worked, especially during the scenes na natangay ng rumaragasang ilog ang balsa at mga bata. panalo ito te! the other aspects, sorry pero they still need lots of work. the camerawork is good, though. good colors and shots.

okay yun na. trabaho lang folks, walang pikunan!

see you next year!

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WAR OF THE WORLDS

Posted in book to film, Hollywood dream factory, sci-fi film on August 16, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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WAR OF THE WORLDS

d. steven spielberg

c. tom cruise

story from the novel by h.g. wells

i’m sure there’s a perfectly good philosophical reason chorva as to why there are aliens who buried their metal monsters on earth and activated them via lightning storms one day to rise from the ground and annihilate the human population and make human blood the fertilizer of the earth for its supposed repopulation. i have to read wells’ novel.

i’m sure there’s a perfectly good technical and scientific reason why all of a sudden, towards the end of the movie (after 85 percent has been shown), the metal monsters began malfunctioning, making it easy for the US army troops to blast them with their puny bazookas and whatnots until the metal monsters were damaged, destroyed, and in one scene, its ET driver opened the door and just…dropped dead, dramatically (complete with nakalaylay ang lifeless hand chorva). punyeta pinatay niyo si ET! waaaaah. ET phone home, uwi patay. asar.

yes, i have to read wells’ novel for that, too.

what we have in the film is just a lot of people running, metal monsters zapping, and tom cruise battling it out acting-wise with dakota fanning. nothing more. and that weird deus ex machina appearance of tim robbins as a semi-crazed man who wanted to blow the aliens to bits. hanlabo men. uwi na ko. ay, asa bahay nga pala ko. uwi na sila. yoko na.

sayang ito. i have to read the novel. even the narration that explains some things was not able to explain the most crucial things. hanlabo.

one thing’s for sure. spielberg’s still that kid in a man’s body with a big budget and a head inside a sci-fi fantasy. let’s try to top ET, shall we? after 20+years, hindi pa rin achieve, spielberg. you let me down. sobra. i so heart ET. pero hanggang dun na lang yata ikaw. MINORITY REPORT was a fluke. nadaan ka ng kuwentong magaling ang pagkaka-edit. philip k. dick just laid out the perfectly good sci-fi short story for you there; all you had to do was film. same with AI na pagkahaba-haba ng unnecessary act 3 ng dramaturgy mo (may act 4 na nga eh!). with that, you ruined brian aldiss’ super-beautiful short story (“supertoys last all summer long”).

waarrrhhh!

RESIDENT EVIL

Posted in (video)games to film, Hollywood dream factory, sci-fi film on August 16, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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RESIDENT EVIL

c. milla jovovich, michelle rodriguez

kung sinuman ang nakaisip na gawing pelikula itong video game na ito, tanga siya.

ang pangit. walang katuturan. wala na ring epek sa akin si michelle rodriguez. matagal na kaming break. kasalanan ng bad role niya sa BLOODRAYNE. at saka wala na siyang bisexual mystique sa akin. i divorce you michelle. chos.

simple lang kuwento. clandestine government science genetic experiments gone wrong. self-extermination, self-preservation. kill all people. dead people become zombies. swat-like soldiers with high-powered weapons try to kill dead people. they all die. almost. fast forward to sequel. pero wala akong kopya nun kaya di ko na tatyagain. ech.

tho interesting sa akin how they explained kung bakit nagiging zombie ang patay. kasi the human body is full of electricity and this virus they were injected with or inhaled triggered the electric chorva of the body, making it come alive but without any intelligence or soul, only the very basic instinct for survival, which is to eat. ewan lang kung bakit ang kakainin ng zombie e tao rin. parang walang explanation dun. or i was yawning when they were explaining it. wotevah.

chaka. sayang pera.

THE ISLAND

Posted in Hollywood dream factory, sci-fi film on August 16, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted on leaflens.blogspot.com
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THE ISLAND
d. michael bay
c. ewan mcgregor, scarlet johannson

i knew there had to be some good reason why ewan mcgregor would make patol such a film. i go by his gut feel of getting projects — there must be something good about its story. and i was right. he was right, too.

i braced myself when i saw in the obb that michael “laging 2000 decibels ang sound fx editing” bay ang director nito. i prepared my earplugs. yes, ganun kaingay lahat, as in LAHAT ng films niya noh. google niyo na lang, or imdb.com.

noon pa napukaw ang interes ko ng film na ito. the gattaca-like setting/set-up interested me, as i liked GATTACA, and the pitch (or half of it) was interesting: the lure of a promised land ek where people will win a lottery to go to this promise of paradise. pero of course there’s more than meets the eye. kaya lang, that was not revealed in the trailers, kasi mega-spoiler pala siya. kaya di rin siguro ako naengganyo ng husto noon dito kasi nga bitin ang premise.

but i like what happened. the story is good pala. it turns out those who are in that gattaca-like place are living organ donors, clones of people who paid 5 million dollars to have their clones made as their insurance policy — so they could live longer. bale iha-harvest ang kelangan sa clone at ipapalit sa client, eg palit ng liver, heart, etc. kung anuman ang mag-malfunction na sa natural body ng client. ganda ng konsepto! kaya lang, instead of being in a vegetative state, yung clones binuhay na ng todo kasi di gumagana ng gusto ang organs, so they lived like humans, implanted with made-up memories, at fully-functioning humans sila in a controlled society. galing! kaya lang, si ewan character nga “nag-malfunction” kasi bigla siyang nagkaroon ng curiosity na tuklasin what’s beyond their life ek. questioning reality, the usual philosophical meanderings baga. what sci-fi work is without those philosophical chorvas? stuff of sci-fi nga ang ganyan e, parang cautionary tale sa present o warning for the future ek. basta. happy siya. kaya rin likes ko ang sci-fi. makes me think and rethink some things in life.

bet ko ang kuwento. ganda ng effects, ng visuals lalo na nung nakalabas na sila sa gattaca-like society nila. it’s still set in the future, but just an altered version of our present ito. at maganda at seamless ang halo ng realism at futuristic. hindi siya sobrang calling attention to itself unlike most sci-fi flicks. ito seamless. ang ganda! basta. you have to see it to know what i’m talking about. cute ng details. galing ng pd at dop work combined. it worked well for me.

all in all, happy ito. watch watch watch!

Cinemalaya shorts 2008 (short films)

Posted in Cinemalaya, film students, indie films, Philippine Cinema, short films on August 12, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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respite from work and escape from crazy women/crazy men at work (and there are a lot lately, i tell you) — cine chichirya.

shorts muna. cinemalaya shorts, that is.

mabilis lang to. sobra. meryenda level.

CINEMALAYA SHORT FILMS 2008

ANDONG
d. Rommel “Milo” Tolentino

pitch: a scavenger boy, obsessed with buying a raffle ticket that could win him a tv set, does all things possible to achieve this simple yet touching goal

catch: editing needs a bit of polishing

i loved this one! never mind that non-professional actors were acting (somewhat) in this film. it appeared a bit natural nga e, parang docu style, lalo na yung nanay na nakukulitan sa anak niyang pabili ng pabili ng tv, at ng tiket para manalo ng tv sa raffle. classic! neorealism at its finest ito. siyempre natulungan ng magandang pulso for editing para lumabas ang story, at na-achieve naman. sobrang aliw ang treatment na magaan lang, walang paghuhusga, kahit na mahirap sila o ang sitwasyon, pinapakita lang as it is, unfolding lives, na walang filmmaker-from-the-upperclass-looking-down-on-filmed-subject-from-the-lowerclass mode, unlike previous cinemalaya shorts na nakita ko na sobra lang matapobre ang lenteng ginamit sa kamera. hay nakuh. pero si andong, deserve niya ang panalo niya. congrats sa inyo, nerissa!

ANG IBANG MGA PAMILYA (OTHER FAMILIES)
d. Joel P. Ruiz

pitch: sabi ng program “is about a woman who overcomes the grief of losing her adopted son”

catch: parang hindi nakita ang pitch na iyon

in UPFI, we have a subject called Film 175 Film and Literature where cross-disciplinary arts like cinema and literary works, particularly short stories and novels, are dissected and compared. siguro kelangang dumaan sa klaseng ito ang mga filmmakers kasi hinugot nila ang kuwento sa short story ni master literary storyteller jose “butch” dalisay, na if i am not mistaken, the title is “Some Families, Very Large.”

hands down, sir butch is a master of the craft of the filipino short story in english, and his writings usually picture and sketch very vivid scenes and emotions that weave into thought-provoking stories. the weaving and such really works well with words on paper. sadly… this kind of weaving still has to be translated into visuals and sound. laglag lang ati. sobrang laylay ang pelikulang ito, dahil hindi niya na-achieve and sentiment na binabato ng short story. it didn’t even have a life of its own, as what happens most times with film adaptations of literary works. but there’s an art to it, adaptation and translation. mukhang kulang pa. hindi tumawid.

ANGAN-ANGAN (DREAMS)
d. Sheron R. Dayoc

pitch: sabi sa program “centers on a mute nine-year-old girl named Satra, whose determination to secure a good education reverberates clearly amid the strictness of her Yakan culture. The Yakan are one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. They mainly reside in Basilan, Mindanao.”

catch: filmed with an audience in mind? hm.

ambivalent ako sa film na ito. it kinda appeared good to me in the beginning, kasi appreciate ko sobra ang films na nagpapakita ng iba’t ibang kultura ng pagiging pilipino, hindi lang yung “modern” (read: american-influenced) culture natin ek. okay sana. pero nalabuan lang ako sa kuwento. maganda sana yung issues na ipinapasok dito, namely the right of the child to an education, and the gender roles handed down to us by tradition ek. kaya lang parang hilaw pa rin sa luto, kaya yung deliver parang di masyadong satisfying. it was also obvious that the filmmakers were in love so much with their “artsy” shots, and that usually kills the story. a film should have a balance of how a story will unfold utilizing the visuals. medyo kulang pa ito ng ganun. nag-take off siya, pero hindi lang lumipad ng husto.

hani, trabaho lang ha, walang personalan hehe 🙂 congrats nonetheless sa inyo diyan sa zambales! make more films like these! hey, where’s my tubbao? hehe 😛

DIAMANTE SA LANGIT (DIAMOND IN THE SKY)
d. Vic Acedillo, Jr

pitch: sabi sa program “is about two brothers’ journey to compete in a kite flying contest. But getting there takes some time. In the end, they face something unexpected and discover something more precious than winning.”

catch: gano’n???? yun yun???

sa totoo lang, lost ako sa pelikulang ito. isang tumataginting na “hanubayunnnnnn” ang reaksyon ko when i watched this. may konsepto, walang kuwento. delikado. argh. for that, yun na ang review! bakit pasok to???

*tumbling*

ONLY GOD KNOWS
d. Mark V. Reyes

pitch: sabi sa program “focuses on the disturbing and gut wrenching tale about the realities of life in the sprawling metropolis of Manila.”

catch: miscast ang cast sa urban poor setting

di marunong gumawa ng synopsis ang gumawa nito. it’s more than that. it’s about this nanay who has to face her demons and moral decisions of giving her son for adoption, out of extreme poverty, only to have that son sold to white slavery. and to a pedophile at that. harshness!

hambigaaaaat! di ba? pero effective siya. not new, typical story, sampu sampera na ang mga giving-up-or-selling-your-child-for-money chorva storylines sa philippine cinema (or asian cinema/third world cinema for that matter), pero this one, nadala ng good acting, thoughtful directing, at good-paced editing. never mind the shots. minsan may hindi kering anggulo pero sige lang. nadala ng aktres.

si angel aquino nga pala ang aktres. bothered lang ako kasi for an urban poor nanay, ang ganda ng highlights work sa hair niya, na halatang pina-parlor (sobrang shiny lang, ate). and of course her complexion, although minsan puwedeng lumusot ito na makinis ang mga nakatira sa slums ek (dahil may ganun namang mga tao talaga). o sige, half-keri. pero yung anak niya kasi, halatang slight malusog at alagang-alaga, kaya hindi believable na naghihirap sila at kelangan siyang ibenta. ayun lang naman ang beef ko. other than that, okay ang film na ito. the build-up of the anticipation, na alam mo nang gagawin niya, tapos yung pag-aagaw ng emosyon nung nanay na kineri ng akting ni angel, bet! winner ito. bigat lang, pero winner.

HULING BIKTIMA (THE LAST VICTIM)
d. Vitaliano A. Rave

pitch: sabi sa program “is a film noir style about a detective’s last minutes.”

catch: so ano’ng bago?

siguro ang bago e ang filmmakers ay enamored sa medium ng graphic novel, because it was obvious that they were making it appear like the visuals were straight out of graphic novels, lalo na’t may pa-thank you sa isang graphic novel author sa credits na inspirasyon nila i’m sure (frank miller ‘ata). kaya lang, kapag tinanggal mo ang graphic novel look and all, ano’ng matitira? walang kuwento ito, talagang gusto lang niyang magpakitang gilas na may alam sila sa cool, slick videography and editing. sadly, hindi kineri ng set, costumes (lalo na si detective na mukhang manong na naka-amerikana — sa dark alleyways of dirty manila? wengk.) at ng boses ng detective (na hindi siya sounding detective! kulang sa bass). hm. sana lang maging mas orihinal pa ang filmmakers, meaning make this material closer to pinoy culture, para hindi siya mukhang american ripoff (which is what it is, actually). sayang ang slick equipment if it won’t be put into good use.

MY PET
d. Anna G. Bigornia

pitch: sabi sa program “is a 7-minute animation about an 8-year-old girl and her relationship with her first pet, a chick, the subject of a class experiment.”

catch: sana may light ang faces ng characters

other than that, keri ko ito. maganda na hindi talkie, and for an animation work, oks lagi iyon. maganda ang music, ang tema, cute ang animation work, pero bakit madilim ang fez? hm. masyado lang mahaba, feeling ko, for the kind of story it was trying to tell. sana mas pinaiklian pa para poignant, short and sweet. pero bet ko ang animation style. parang slight eastern european ang feel, pero pinoy ang textures. winner!

PANGGARIS
d. Dexter B. Cayanes

pitch: sabi sa program “is about a prostitute whose life changed when her mute sibling learned to talk, uttering only the word “panggaris.”

catch: kulang sa kwento

sa totoo lang, di ko na talaga halos maalala itong short na to. i guess ganon siya tumatak (o hindi) sa akin. i just remember being unhappy in watching it. sorry alam ko hindi fair itong ganitong review pero i guess my reaction also speaks for the quality it has (or the absence of it).

TRAILS OF WATER
d. Sheron R. Dayoc

pitch: sabi sa program “is an experimental film about a young boy’s emotion as seen through his make-believe story.”

catch: kulang sa kuwento

di ko alam kung dahil sa huli-huli na ito at di ko masyadong keri ang kuwento, pero hindi ko na siya sobrang matandaan ang detalye. i guess ganoon din siya tumatak (o hindi) sa akin. noble and good intentions cited, at okay iyon. pero the art and craft of storytelling through film, kulang pa rin. could be improved. may promise naman e.

TUTOS (COST)
d. L.A. Yamsuan

pitch: sabi sa program “tells about the dynamics and complexities of a single father-daughter relationship in a postmodern patriarchal Filipino society.”

catch: nachorva ko na ito bilang isa siya sa thesis ng nakaraang taon, at isa pa sa best thesis

the story is actually good. biases aside siyempre. i like the sensitivity of the camera handling and the editing, may pacing, at very mature ito. i also like the super subtle (call me overreading) na ang kuwento ay tungkol sa isang babae na puwedeng may leaning towards liking another babae. super subtle message, partly hidden, pero quite a bit obvious sa portrayal and acting. sinadya man o hindi, okay lang. ayun. basta. okay to. congrats, LA!

*

o sya, my break is over. discuss.

DREAMGIRLS (movie musical)

Posted in movie musical, stage-theater to film on August 10, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

DREAMGIRLS
d., s. bill condon (based on the broadway musical)
c. jaime foxx, beyonce knowles, eddie murphy, jennifer hudson

i was fixing some things earlier when i saw that i haven’t seen this film pa nga pala. the dvd was just lying there so i thought it’s a good lunchtime companion to watch while i violate some health thing and ate food that my doctor warned that i was not supposed to eat anymore na. heck, comfort food’s comfort food–and i need comfort these days, so what the heck. so i did. eat the damn food and watched this film.

and i loved it. everyone’s good here, hands down. the acting was great, the camerawork was cool, and the music and dancing were just fine. of course that’s a given, given that this film is about the rise of a record company similar to the old decca/motown of yore back in the late ’50s to ’60s when white racist america was afraid to dabble into the music and culture of the black folks because they believed it had some voodoo and black magic thingamajigs with it, not to mention that rock ‘n’ roll was branded as the music of the devil back then. stupid di ba? but no, they still ended up “borrowing” this sound for their own culture and profit (which a sequence addressed in this film, ie yung pagnakaw ng isang kanta at ginawang acoustic). haller, elvis presley na lang kaya no. and his contemporary din, si jerry lee lewis na sabi nila e his one hand played gospel music and the other hand played rock ‘n’ roll (he was a pianist as elvis was a guitarist). kaloka. e tumambay lang naman siya sa mga black folks at nagets niya ang sound na yun e. sus. great balls of fire indeed. and elvis? hay. as much as the man was talented, i can’t forget his quip saying “the only thing niggers are good for is to shine my shoes.” da king ka talaga, indeed.

anyway, enough about rock ‘n’ roll history.

i loved this film because it had that sound that i love — that soulful motown-like sound. sobra lang.i’ve always liked the soulful sound of the black folks, blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll man yan or what, even rap, the precursor of today’s hiphop. i liked that it had that sort of history about a girl group that rose from being a back-up to a popular lead soloist (na usually lalaki) hanggang sa naging full act na sila on their own.

i liked girl groups like these din, kasi nakakatuwa ang songs at pagkanta nila. never mind the costumes and choreo, although that’s the stuff that drag queen impersonation is built upon, so go go go girls! of course the most popular of this kind we know is the supremes, with no less than diana ross in the middle. pero meron ding iba, like the shirelles who originally recorded and sang carole king’s penned song “will you still love me tomorrow” before carole decided to record it on her own. kakaiba talaga ang era na iyon. i so heart the music it produced.

okay yung mga angst nila, at tuwa akong hindi nila masyadong dinramahan sa emphasis nung ano ang nagagawa ng fame sa mga simple folks who just have superb singing talent ek, much like how stories like this have been filmed before. mga rags to riches, rise to fame, fall from fame plotlines ek. dami nang ganyan. what sets this film apart is that nag-focus sila sa interpersonal lives ng characters more, at reactionary lang sila sa surroundings nila. it was more human when treated that way, and they were never pictured as cookie cutter characters in a way.

case in point: yung ambitious producer role ni jamie foxx. may nuance ang character niya at subtle lang yung portrayal niya na gahaman siya ek. i especially like their tug-o-war ek nung character ni beyonce, lalo na nung nagkakalabuan na sila at nare-realize na ni girl na dapat e may sarili na siyang buhay na di dikta ni husband-manager.

i especially like that song na kinanta ni beyonce, yung self-realization song called “listen.” nung una, sige lang, unfolding siya, pero in the middle part, especially when she sang that line about i don’t feel home in my home or something, ay puta tumambling ako. slight nag-swak na ang rest of the lyric with me. hay… talk about identification with art…

eto i googled the words:

———-
Oh, the time has come
for my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own
all cause you won’t
Listen….

[Chorus]
Listen,
I am alone at a crossroads
I’m not at home, in my own home
And I tried and tried
To say what’s on my mind
You should have known
Oh,
Now I’m done believin’ you
You don’t know what I’m feelin’
I’m more than what, you made of me
I followed the voice
you gave to me
But now I gotta find, my own..

You should have listened
There is someone here inside
Someone I’d thought had died
So long ago

Oh I’m free now and my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside on words
Into your arms
All cause you won’t
Listen…
—————————-

patok di ba? pero ito ang pinaka:

I don’t know where I belong
But i’ll be movin’ on
If you don’t….
If you won’t….

yun na.

hay. oh well. music really gets to me sometimes. and i guess i needed to hear that song today. if only today.

dreamgirls is not the kind of film you’ll watch over and over. once is enough. but that one time is enough to leave a lasting impression on your mind, and your soul’s music. happened to me. could happen to you.

try it.

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