Archive for June, 2010

keri ba ang pag-Carrie on?

Posted in film sequels, Hollywood dream factory on June 13, 2010 by leaflens

I guess this is the perfect time to review SEX AND THE CITY 2 because it’s that time of the month for me. May kinalaman ‘yon? Oo naman noh, depende sa pelikula. Swak ito, I tell you. Basta.

Bago ko sinulat itong review, binasa ko muna ulit ‘yung 2008 review ko sa unang pelikula. Ire-repost ko na lang din sa baba after.

SEX AND THE CITY 2

d. s. Michael Patrick King

based on the characters from Candace Bushnell’s book

c. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis

Pitch: Two years after, we follow the girls — from New York to United Arab Emirates and back — in their new roles as mothers and wives, but also rediscovering their refined roles as girl friends for each other.

Catch: Please fire Carrie’s stylist and wardrobe manager. Yes I know it’s fashyown-fashyown but it’s better two years ago! What’s with the eyeliner?

I was excited a few months ago when I saw the actual trailer of the film, and I couldn’t believe that they’re bringing the girls back. But I had to backtrack a bit and think of what actually happened in the first film that they could connect to this second one.

It’s hard to believe that Carrie is already hitched, to Mr. Big at that. But that was actually the goal of the character, but not the show, I think. That’s why I think it was such a “clever” message that Carrie had to dedicate her newest book “I do; Do I?” to “all the former single ladies out there” or something like that. Because when you say Sex and the City, it’s all about the travails of being an above-twentysomething single girl trying to find love, or trying to fit in love, even within a marriage.

So it would be ridiculous to have the girls roam around New York with their non-single (un)blessedness in this film, because the thrill of the single gal blah would disappear. Hence the one-week getaway-from-it-all trip to Abu Dhabi, cleverly written in as a backdrop/comment to the recent recession in the US, as Samantha was able to impress a rich hotel owner to be her newest PR gig (sabay sabi ng kelangan nilang pumunta sa isang lugar na “bago,” up-and-coming, and most of all rich). So dahil nagkaka-issue na rin sa marriage house rules si Carrie, si Miranda sa sexist chorva sa law firm nila, and si Charlotte sa ingay ng toddlers niya, sinama na ni Samantha ang mga girls sa trip, all expenses paid. In short, maraming tinatakasan ang girls sa kanilang regular na buhay sa New York kaya kelangan nila ang trip na ito — at kelangan din ng audience, lalo na ng longtime fans of the show like me, ang approach na ito.

And now I realize why some critics were too harsh on the film. Perhaps that’s because they are not huge fans of the show. The first movie felt like a real larger-than-the-TV-life movie of the girls. This second movie felt like a stretched TV episode of one of their earlier seasons, the better seasons I should add. It was also there in the movie, cleverly slipped in, when Mr. Big sat in his limo while waiting for Carrie to come down from her old brownstone apartment, and Carrie said, “And just like that, it was 1998 all over again.” Panalo!!!! Because it truly did feel like it was one of the original episodes, grabe. That is why I like it so much. The way it was shot says so, lalo na ‘yung recap-recap ng buhay nila and where they were headed na towards the end, that felt like one of the TV eps. The first movie didn’t feel like that kasi.

The dialogues also felt like it was from the TV eps. Siyempre kelangan may mga one-liners ever, like Samantha’s “Lawrence of my labia!” and all that. Too bad they had to cut some shots here, bad trip. As usual, si Samantha na naman ang naka-cut.

There were lots of scenes here that just made me flashback to the old eps when the girls would just bond and all. Panalo ‘yung eksena when they were having breakfast and Carrie was dissed sa New Yorker review ng book niya, then tumayo siya at hinampas lang niya in a non-melodramatic way ‘yung magazine. Grabe ang galing. Simple pero panalo. Saka ‘yung inuman session ni Charlotte at Miranda bilang bull session ng mga newbie mommies who want their own time off from being a wife and a mother and all. Grabe, what a very relevant issue today. I don’t know if mommies of before had this kind of angst, but I guess they did, pero di lang sila nabibigyan ng time or panahon to air it out.

What’s great lang siguro about being non-single ng mga tao sa show na na-translate sa film na ito ay hindi exclusive sa hetereosexuals ang marriage, as evident in their bonggang-bonggang opening sequences ng kasal nina Stanford at Anthony. Now that one is good, I like that, it’s also like a stab at the inequality dividing the US about gay marriage. I’m glad that was also written in there. Surreal lang ‘yung Liza Minelli appearance ha, but I digress. Basta.

And of course I guess we can’t end this review without a comment sa Middle Eastern sojourn nila, where they were almost harassed by the Arab men. Kinukuyog pala ang tawag doon, sabi nila (read Giselle Sanchez’ own kuyog experience sa blog niya sa pep.ph, ‘under sa “review”/kuwento niya ng SATC 2 din), na talagang haharangan ka ng mga lalaki kapag sa tingin nila e indecently dressed ka, indecent meaning naka-tank top or off-shoulder or something that shows a lot of skin. Yeah sexist I know, but I like the way they handled that portion. What I don’t like is the part where the Arab women undressed and were wearing fashionista clothes. While that could be true, it’s kinda over the top, but strangely enough, it also still fits in the scheme of things in this show-turned-movie.

Well, during the first movie, I thought it was the end of an era when it finished. I think with this one, puwede pa ring magpatuloy, pero medyo stretch na ito ng kaunti if they do that. I hope they just let it be, and let the memories of the gals linger na lang. Unless may makita silang panibagong angle to show, then let’s see. And will I still watch that one? Aba, abso-fucking-lutely! ;P

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And for more reminiscing, here is my review of the first film (combi with the series and book na rin, hodgepodge), originally posted somewhere.

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Flashback review (written 10 June 2008):

SEX AND THE CITY(2008)

(movie, TV, book)

bear with me, mahaba ito.

i guess i  have some kind of denial in seeing the movie version of SATC. perhaps it’s because when i see it, it will finally be over for me. the show, the girls, the cosmopolitan, the shoes, the sex, the insights, everything.

my friend cenon already did his own postmortem of the series months ago, when he ended his connection with the series. i then borrowed his dvds and tried, for the whole summer, to watch the whole show. all six seasons. well, it was only two weeks ago, i think, that i finally concluded the show’s run. at grabe lang ang ending. okay naman for me. the girls are still their usual selves, but upgraded, and more quality-controlled, so to speak. miranda, of all people, got married to steve the bartender. charlotte’s her usual quirky WASP-y way. samantha’s just samantha and carrie is, well, such a writer hehe.

see, the reason why i stuck with this show are the cool storylines. minsan hit and miss din naman sila. like the first two seasons were great. the third and fourth i’m not so hot about, especially the one where samantha was with this lesbian latina artist. parang nakakainis ang treatment ng lesbianism. but coming from a fashionista gay guy’s perspective, what did i expect? siyempre ganun e. oh well… mas gusto ko pa yung treatment ng lesbianism kay charlotte, yung nag-drag king siya na kukuhanan ng photo. pero once again, i didn’t like the way she was shunned by the lezzies, although partly true naman iyon. kasi she was hanging out a lot with this lesbian barkada, and one of them asked her bluntly if she’s crossing over na, and she said no siyempre (gotta make middle class hetero happy america happier!) and then one les said parang “if you don’t eat pussy, you’re not a lesbian.” a harsh told-off, to think, but, well, flashbacking to my own past hehe, this is SOOOOO TRUE! but that’s another blog post hehe.

well anyway, lesbianism aside, the thing that hooked me to the show was carrie’s writerly muni-muni as she writes in her desk in front of her apartment window ek. relate ako sobra sa set-up at sa modang ito. been doing that even before i learned of this show, kaya sobrang happy ako when i found a show, a well-written sitcom at that, that features a female writer as protagonist. rare ito during the 90s, kahit late 90s.

i think i first heard of the show from my sister in 2001 who just relocated to california that time. even though the show started in 1998, medyo huli ata itong na-distribute sa HBO asia. i caught some eps one time in my lonesome in my ex’s province house, at totally relate ako agad sa issues and concerns ng girls. well, except for the blahniks and such. but yeah, there is a certain vanity to this being that the show kinda addressed din.

relate din ako kasi for the first time, i saw a show that focused on women talking about sex and love as candidly as the girls did. about a half-decade earlier, my high school friends and i had this kind of bonding before, na we’d tlak about sex and stuff, pero tatlo lang kami, kasi parang kami lang ang mas sexually mature sa rest ng barkada namin that time. we even named ourselves tuesday night chika club, a take-off from sheryl crow’s popular album then called tuesday night music club or something like that. so yeah, it was about time tv focused on issues that we could relate to, because we were paying for cable and all and we can’t see ourselves in it.

so when my lesbian friends and i started UP Sappho Society in 1999, we were all addicted to this show. yes, kahit lesbians, universal pa rin ang issues and concerns ng show na nakaka-relate kaming lahat. basta babae ka at nagka-problema ka sa pag-ibig, sa sexuality, sa dating, sa sex at sa expression ng sex, relate ka sa show na ito ever. EVER! case in point: it doesn’t matter if lez o het ka, basta if you saw that episode of samantha gagging because the guy she was dating had funky-tasting spunk hehehe, wala relate ka dito! it could happen to girls, too, y’know! i’m living proof! hahahahaha. too much information na ba? hehehehe.inuman tayo, ikukuwento ko sa yo minsan hahahahahaah sobra lang itoh!

heniwey, naaalala ko lang nung 2004, when the show ended, my sister texted me from the US saying alam na daw niya ang first name ni mr. big — john. at kakapanood ko lang nun, kasi pinakita yun sa caller id ng cell ni carrie.

which brings us to the movie. well, ganun din. ang maganda sa movie, ang mga gumawa ng tv series ang humulma nito, kaya ang spirit at essence ng show ay naroon. at maganda ito kasi yung movie ay natural progression at escalation ng show. cool siya, it literally took off where the series ender left off. yun nga lang, if you were not a fan of the show and didn’t go through the struggles of the girls sa series, baka lalabas lang silang flat or shallow sa movie.

case in point: when mr. big stood up carrie on their wedding day. grabe lang ito! parang take three na itong pag-dump sa kanya! waaaaah. remember that episode nung nagpakasal si big sa bobo model, tapos they were referencing him to robert redford’s character in THE WAY WE WERE, tapos they all sang the theme song, tapos si samantha parang nahihiya sa kanila hehehehe. nakakatawa iyon. tapos nung bago maghiwalay si carrie and big, sabi ni big “i don’t get it” and she answered “and you never will.”

hay nakuh! kaya yung eksena lang sa movie na hinampas-hampas ni carrie si big ng bouquet, putangina sobrang significant iyon. sa ordinaryo watcher, wala lang ito pero putangina parang sinaksak ako sa puso when i saw it, with matching tulo ng tears (what the hey, i’m a sap! now you know!). sheeeeeet. tangina ka mr big! season2 pa lang, i hate you naaaaa! that’s because in the season where there was aidan the furniture maker, i somehow could relate to that scene, being i found myself in that same situation before. like i was aidan, someone else was big, and our carrie was a stupid moron of a girl. well, sabi nga ng isa kong friend, she was stupid not to choose me blah. oh well. that’s so 1990s.  c’est la vie.

isa pang parang shallow sa ordinary moviegoer yung eksena ng nabuntis si charlotte. kung di alam ng audience ang mega-frustrating background ni charlotte sa pag-reproduce, this scene will fall flat on its face for them. but for me, again, touching siya. same with samantha’s struggle with keeping her lust bottled up ek. same with miranda’s struggle to forgive steve’s one-night stand tryst. pero i guess that one is more universal than the others.

may isa lang glitch dito. bakit si stanford e hindi masyadong nabigyan ng airtime dito? hm. protesta ako dito. to think malaking bahagi ng buhay ni carrie ang kasama siya, tapos ganun lang dito. ngyar. basta.

aliw din ang pinanggalingan ng materyal ng lahat na ito, although mas journalistic iyon more than creative nonfiction for me. i read the book by candace bushnell at malayo nga ang ibang situation at characters but that’s the beauty of reinvention. everything worked well for the better for all of them in the end. look at how iconic the show is, and the franchise, everything.

isa pang gusto ko dito e yung walang kiyeme-kiyeme sa age thing. in fact, yun nga ang point nila. thirtysomethings kas sila, and for societies that value the young all the freaking time, it’s time we showed them just who really has buying power in our society di ba? wise buying power, that is. ang generation ngayon, nabigyan lang ng pera dahil sa call center jobs, but so what? after that, where do they go? is that a career in itself? not really. marami nga silang disposable income pero walang valuable knowledge na naiiuuwi at the end of the day. kahit thirtysomethings na hindi ganun kalaki kumita kami, so what? bottomline is, happy at may track itong career choices namin. na pinakita nung show. bottomline is, huwag ma-threaten sa mga bata, kasi pana-panahon lang talaga iyan, period.

oh man. there’s really a lot to say about the show, the movie, about SATC. grabe lang. pero gusto ko pa rin ang diskurso ng love na hinahain dito. may magulo, may tragic, may realistic, may hopeful. in the end, it could be summarized in what carrie said “it’s not logic; it’s love.” how true is this. for those of us who have experienced rationalizing feelings, it’s a fruitless exercise because, like dreams, love really follows its own logic, and it’s up to us to decide if we want to subscribe to it or not.

it’s the end of an era. hay… so what will be next? we’ll see… we’ll see.

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15th French Film Festival

Posted in film festival, flashbacking, French cinema, French New Wave, takilya life on June 2, 2010 by leaflens

Yesterday was fun. I got an invite to attend the press preview of the forthcoming French Film Festival at the Shangri-la Mall Cineplex in Ortigas. Glad that it’s in Ortigas pa rin, somewhat more accessible for me to go to.

Some kind of "travel to discover yourself" film, sort of. You know naman the French, hard to peg in just a simple one-line pitch...

Their line-up this year looks interesting. Well, their line-ups always are anyway. It’s just that in the past years, I’ve grown weary of attending such festivals, unlike in my younger fresh-out-of-film school days when my friends and I would simply devour such showings, inventing the concept of the film marathons in our barkada, which we usually do anyway since undergrad days.

In English, "Offices of God." Title pa lang, intriguing na! Comedy ito. I'm catching this one.

Since our former film department had close ties with the French Embassy, we were also regularly invited to openings of such festivals and other Frenchy gimmicks like their annual Bastille Day celebs and such. But since I gave up my car, I got tired of attending the festivals and events because of the difficult commute going home to Marikina.

Loosely translated as "In (the) Life," this is like an inter-religion drama chuva. Worth seeing how they deal with such issues.

So it was refreshing to be in this loop again yesterday, as the event didn’t really start too early or too late, just right for the 10am snack time they said and the 1030am film screening after. I saw several old-timers covering the event, mga kasabayan ko noon pa in such entertainment coverages since the early 2000s, and I also saw new faces from younger publications.

"Girl on a train" ito (I'm guessing the RER is an acronym for a train station or something), some kind of urban intriguing drama chuva. Wanna watch this.

Nakakatuwa naman. Maluwag pa kasi ang sked ko for now since the start of classes is next week pa naman, I decided to check out the festival ek.

Family drama chever, the title means "Summer Hours." Drama yata itey.

And I’m glad I did. The film we saw, Le Graine et le Mulet, is a refreshing film for me to see, ako na babad na naman sa Hollywood at local indie lately. God, I missed French films! I’ll discuss that film extensively sa Manila Times column ko in the next two weeks. For now, I hope they accept the feature article I submitted earlier. Medyo nag-iiba na pala ang klima doon ngayon since my lifestyle editor just quit, so I’m just playing it by ear there. But I digress.

It's interesting to see the lives of French immigrants of Arabic descent. Happy ito, refreshing for me ang story structure. And the couscous! Yum.

Anyway, the posters here are those of the films to be screened. Exciting din ‘yung Eric Rohmer retrospective since kakamatay lang niya last January. One of the late-bloomers siya sa French New Wave generation nina Godard at Truffaut et al. Happy sana kung di lang sa CCP ang retrospective kainis. A select films of his will be brought naman later to UPFI pala as well as some of the festival selections, pero parang ayoko nang manood dun lately — walang popcorn at proper aircon. Na-spoil ako sa Gateway at SM cinemas na of late hehe.

Ito mukhang happy, about sex and love, French preoccupations.

Anyway, when I don’t have classes yet, I’ll try to catch the screenings. Refreshing din kasing tumambay ulit sa Shang, a break from SM hehe.

Its English title is "Just Anybody" about a twentysomething na parang walang magawa sa buhay dahil rich siya. Parang some people I know hehehe...

The sked is here:

June 3, Thursday
7:30 p.m. – L’Amour c’est mieux a deux

June 4, Friday
12 p.m. – L’Heure d’ete’
3 p.m. – La Fille du RER
6 p.m. – La Graine et le Mulet
9 p.m. – Les Bureaux de Dieu

June 5, Saturday
12 p.m. – L’Amour c’est mieux a deux
3 p.m. – Le Premier Venu
6 p.m. – Welcome
9 p.m. – Dans La Vie

June 6, Sunday
12 p.m. – Le Genou De Claire
3 p.m. – Le Beau Mariage
6 p.m. – L’Heure d’ete’
9 p.m. – La Fille du RER

June 7, Monday
12 p.m. – La Graine et le Mulet
3 p.m. – Les Bureaux de Dieu
6 p.m. – L’Amour c’est mieux a deux
9 p.m. – Le Premier Venu

June 8, Tuesday
12 p.m. – Welcome
3 p.m. – Dans La Vie
6 p.m. – Le Genou De Claire
9 p.m. – Le Beau Mariage

June 9, Wednesday
12 p.m. – Les Bureaux de Dieu
3 p.m. – La Graine et le Mulet
6 p.m. – La Fille du RER
9 p.m. – L’Heure d’ete’

June 10, Thursday
12 p.m. – Dans La Vie
3 p.m. – Welcome
6 p.m. – Le Premier Venu
9 p.m. – L’Amour c’est mieux a deux

June 11, Friday
12 p.m. – La Fille du RER
3 p.m. – L’Heure d’ete’
6 p.m. – Le Beau Mariage
9 p.m. – Le Genou De Claire

June 13, Sunday
12 p.m. – Le Premier Venu
3 p.m. – L’Amour c’est mieux a deux
6 p.m. – Les Bureaux de Dieu
9 p.m. – La Graine et le Mulet

I grabbed this sked sa spot.ph. To see the synopses of the films, go to their site na lang here.

Crime thriller chuva with Jean Reno. Looks interesting.

Here’s the rest of the sked as I wrote in my article:

Film lovers can catch the full run of the French Film Festival at the Shangri-La Cineplex in Ortigas from June 3 to 13 while the full Eric Rohmer Retrospective will run at the CCP from June 15-20. The festival will then travel to Cebu where it will be showcased at the Ayala Center from June 18 to 20. A selection of the festival and Rohmer films will then be screened at the University of the Philippines Film Institute’s (UPFI) Cine Adarna Theater at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City. For other details of the festival, you can call 633-2227.

O sige, kitakits na lang.

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