Archive for the bioflick Category

Queering the historic universe

Posted in bioflick, book to film, drama film, Oscars, queer cinema, queer issues in film, women's issues in film on February 23, 2015 by leaflens

Oscars 2015 rush started with this film for me. So here are a few thoughts. Queers, listen up!

imitation gameTHE IMITATION GAME

d. Morten Tyldum

s. Graham Moore from the book by Andrew Hodges

c. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

Pitch: A glimpse into the life of Alan Turing whom we might be neglecting as the dude who is credited for the creation of the basis of our modern-day computers. And yes, he is gay. 

Catch: You see the strengths and the weaknesses as you watch the film unfold. But you tend to overlook this unevenness because it has an engaging story.

As I wait for the actual Oscars 2015 live telecast as I write this, thought I’d jot down a few notes here about the films that I was actually catch and somehow moved me, in a way. This is one of them.

I know of Alan Turing from a few years back when I was searching for queer-identified people in history. Glad to learn that the modern day computer is somehow directly due to his work. But he is more known for being the genius code-breaker during the war against the Nazis, and he was a great asset of the UK during that time because of decoding how the Nazi communication machine worked. Until, of course, they slapped him with an indecency case, all because he was gay.

Yes, folks, in a first-world country such as the UK, abominations such as this happened. Gays were persecuted, and in Alan’s case, he was made to choose between serving time in prison, and taking hormonal therapy drugs to “alleviate his homosexual disease.” This was, of course, the 1950s, and no civil rights movements connected to sexuality was happening yet. Too bad Alan didn’t live to see this happen during the next decade, as he took his own life before the 1960s happened.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, sorry.  On to the film muna. Yes, this was indeed a moving film, queerness aside. The film chronicles Alan’s life during the time his neighbor reported a robbery in his home. Turns out to be a “booking gone wrong pala.” Yes, my dears, dahil kloseta nga ang lola mo, may-I-booking siya ng boys sa balur niya, or else tegi nga siya. But this one booking stole from his house kaya doon nagsimula ang gulo for him. When he didn’t want to press charges, a police dude got suspicious and decided to dig deeper, even searching for Alan’s wartime records na classified or absent for public consumption. So of course they picked him up and it was during the interrogation scene where the police learned of Alan’s great contribution to humanity. So the film used this sandwich-type of narrative wherein you split the present and they flashback to the past to tell the meaty palaman of the film, and then go back to the present to wrap up the sandwich.

The palaman is, of course, the meatier side of the story. This is where we learn of Alan’s journey from being a Cambridge professor up until his wartime recruitment nga. He belonged to an elite handful of cryptologists with just one job: to decode the Nazi Enigma machine so the allied forces could read the encrypted messages/communication of the Nazis. What a job eh?

As is the case with uber-brilliant people, they are, of course, anti-social. This didn’t bode well for our no-nonsense hero, who had to be tutored to have social graces by another genius woman — Joan Clarke, played brilliantly by Keira Knightley. It was surprisingly refreshing, finally, to have a woman acknowledged for her brains and not merely her beauty or her reproductive system. I like the character of this Ms. Clarke girl who became an unofficial but crucial part of Alan’s team later on. Of course we see the gender bias at the beginning, when Alan wanted to recruit more people and tested them via a timed crossword puzzle. That was really intellectually cute. And the men in charge couldn’t believe that a woman could have done such a feat. Kainis lang of course. Pero mas kainis yung muntik na niyang talikuran ang job just because as a woman, she is expected to stay home with her parents, find a husband, and have a baby. Hay, reproductive system function, oo. But it’s also so cute how Alan was able to “persuade” her to join the team. Ewan ko ba, basta ang daming intellectually cute moments ng film na ito hehe watch it to understand what I mean.

imitation keira

I am woman, hear me code! Sabi ni lola Keira hehe. Talagang behind a great queer man is a het girl. Historical fag hag lang ang peg lolz. I kid, I kid! Love you Keira!

 

The strength of the film is its pulse: the way it ticked and took us rhythmically from scene to scene, which is the good work of an alert director and a good editor making a tight script come to life. I just wished the cinematography was at par with these other aspects, but you can’t win ’em all, I guess. But this is a good enough combo for me: script-directing-editing. This film pulsed these so well, kaya feel mo yung edge-of-the-seat excitement as to how they’re scrambling for time and going against odds to have Alan’s decoding machine — nicknamed Christopher — work in time before snooty authorities pulled the plug. Of course the excellent acting of the cast worked well with these aspects of filmmaking kaya more edge sa seat ang peg teh! Lalo na when Christopher finally worked. And then another dilemma begins. Kaya tiri-tirintas na ang development ng drama na talagang hihilahin ang interes mo until it ended.

And then, within the flashback, we have another set of flashbacks concerning Alan’s childhood, especially his boarding school days where he was bullied in an all-boys school. And we see his only friend there named Christopher, who introduced him to a book of cryptology of sorts. Siyempre doon na-formulate ang queerness ni koya and we see that, but we also see his heart being broken there, because of what happened to Christopher. Kaya ang love of his life ay ginawa na lang niyang prototype ng modern-day computer natin. Kalerks, this.

This film will really break your heart several times, especially if you’re queer and you see all this happening just because he’s queer. But I didn’t like the way his queerness was inserted here in the beginning. Like we didn’t really see any hint of it except when he confessed later on that he is homosexual — first to his co-worker who turned out to be a double-agent/spy (so of course his homosexuality was used against him by this dude as blackmail material) and second to Ms. Clarke whom he was trying to “save” (i.e. pinapauwi ng parentals dahil single pa siya at malayo ang work daw) by offering her marriage. Nagtapatan naman sila na bekiloublanco si koya at tanggap ni ati yun, at hanggang fiance mode lang naman sila para lang manatili sa work si ati. Kaya lang, yun nga, this was all in talk. Walang masyadong scenes to show this, na sana they humanized Alan more in a way. But I guess they didn’t want to show that, or they didn’t find enough historical evidence to portray him as such. But this is also where you’ll see why Keira was nominated for a best supporting actress award: that turning point of confrontation nila ni Alan, when he was saying na he didn’t care for her at all, basta kasama lang siya sa work and all. That sampal and that pagpipigil ng another sampal and that look and that body language ni Keira at that moment, galing! It reminded me actually of another turning point scene ng isang Academy Award winner: si lola Kate Winslet during her courtroom scene sa THE READER when she was being questioned for her role during the Nazi occupation. Yung moment na hinampas niya yung mesa sa frustration in defending herself, galing!!! parang similar in effect sa aking yung two scenes na ito ng mga aleng ito na kras ko hehe. Winner kayo mga darling, ever.

Tapos nung bumalik na nga ang film sa present ulit, to wrap it up, we see Alan being slapped nga with the indecency case, turning into a recluse while on therapy drugs, and being visited  by Ms. Clarke. Good to see they remained friends naman pala, and that’s where they concluded the film, with notes saying na Alan took his own life chenes nga, but never forget that your computers today are the result of Turing Machines before. So there.

Yes, homophobes, a gay man's invention led to your modern day computer. Kung wala siya, wala 'yan.

Yes, homophobes, a gay man’s invention led to your modern day computer. Kung wala siya, wala ‘yan.

Hay, lungkot.  Nakakatuwa na finally, lumabas din ang buhay niya sa film nang ganito. Maganda naman ang portrayal and all. It’s another good notch to add to queer history, cinematic or not, basta history natin. We need to see more of our lives out there, see how we were treated, and see what we contributed to the world anyway even if we were being (mis)judged. Maybe this is indeed a reminder nga for us to not take our “queer freedoms” for granted today, but it’s also a reminder to celebrate them because somehow, we have (some of) them freedoms nga, in a way, which Alan never did.

Anyway watch watch watch. Happy siya, in a sad sorta way. Basta! Sana manalo ito ng award later. Fingers crossed.

 

[All photos swiped from the internet. Thanks to those who uploaded them.]

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Oscar movies as substitute for burnout

Posted in bioflick, British film, Oscars on February 7, 2011 by leaflens

Or in short, here’s what 30 pesos can buy you when you’re on the brink of near beyond frustration: a multiple Oscar-nominated film copy.

With isaw.

THE KING’S SPEECH

d. Tom Hooper

c. Colin Firth, Helena Bonham   Carter, Goeffrey Rush, Guy Pearce

Pitch: True story of King George VI when he was still known as the Duke of York pre-Hitler era when he was still struggling with a stammering speech problem.

Catch: Are you sure this is a British film???? There’s humor but it’s not dry! Winner! So no catch!

One thing I really don’t like watching is films about the Royal Family of England. Not that I’m disinterested in their lives but seriously, I don’t get moved immediately by stories about people who have it (somewhat) easy in life. In a manner of speaking.

But snippets of their lives presented in a cleverly creative and quiet but poignant matter differ. I love them. Take the film The Queen. I skipped seeing that even if it was also nominated for the Oscars before. But catching it on cable one lazy day last year, I appreciated how the story was able to focus on such a very interesting time in the royal people’s lives, and how they reacted to it — in this case, the death of Princess Diana and how the Queen Mother and PM Tony Blair handled the situation. Grabe galing! Simple yet straight to the point storytelling, good pacing, well-acted of course, and good overall helming by the director.

In this film, it’s the same. Imagine a would-be king facing the latest in technology which is radio, and having a stammering speech problem. Until he became king pa. Great ready formula for major conflict right there.  Add to that that he had to make wartime speeches during his reign as king. Can you say “goal obstacles?” Hanep. Plus, the layers of discussion this film provides! Which could segue into meaningful discourses on how politicians and similar public figures of great importance manage different forms of media and all. Very interesting indeed.

But such is the heart of this movie: you can relate to the “ordinariness” or the “everyday problem” of this grand character. Or even “better” is you feel you are above him at least in that one aspect. And you can’t help but feel for the guy and root for him to succeed, even if he is the king of England.

I grew up as a super-quiet introverted person well until I turned legal in college, so it’s actually a surprise for most people to learn that fact about me when they see and hear me speak with ease now. But I had a similar problem before. Not that I stammer but I am super-shy that I don’t know how to modulate my voice, and I am always such a loser in class recitations. And imagine the horrors during my third year in college when we were required to take Comm 3, a speech class. I took a Filipino version of that class, Komm 3, thinking that I will be able to negotiate giving a speech in front of a class of 20 quite manageable because it’s in Filipino.  But no, turns out my stage fright is as worse a plague to me as my childhood asthma. So I dropped the course. Eventually of course, I had to retake it and took the English version, and the teacher was better in coaching us how to speak out of our shells. Yes,  survived and passed that class eventually, but with great near-death agony.

So imagine the tension of the build-up this movie had in me when it was unfolding, up to the very first time the king had to deliver his first wartime speech. It was such a very simple situation but its preparation was so cleverly built up during the first act and the whole of second act so by the time we reach the climax, we were so ready for it. A success of great scriptwriting and great acting-directing helped enormously by a good pulse in editing. Now that’s how film techniques work together to build a great story and elicit meaning. Simple genius.

So see the list of nominations it garnered this year and we’ll see what happens next at the end of this month. Ayus! I think this has a big chance. So many good films competing this year. Have to watch some of them pa.

Okay roll credits then!

Mga dakilang imbentor

Posted in bioflick, book to film, Cine Chichirya sa DZUP1602, Hollywood dream factory, Philippine Cinema, tech film on November 3, 2010 by leaflens

Sino ba ang mga dakilang imbentor ngayong mga panahong ito? Dalawa ang napanood kong sine na may mga kanya-kanyang imbensiyon silang pinapalaganap — sa kasamaang palad man o sa kagandahan ng, um, mga anik-anik sa buhay. Echos.

Or in short, here is what I think of two recent movies I saw in cinemas here in Metro Manila.

Unahin na natin ang imported.

SOCIAL NETWORK

d. David Fincher

sc. Aaron Sorkin based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich

Pitch: The film chronicles the life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues, beginning from its controversial inception to its eventual launch to the world.

Catch: So far, I can’t see any, accuracy or no accuracy involved, in terms of content. Daw.

Give it to David Fincher to give us an excitingly paced movie about an otherwise humdrum series of events if followed in the real world, mostly involving lawsuits, mediation talks, delivery of deposition statements in an ongoing case inside a conference room, and so on. You get the picture. SOCIAL NETWORK was mostly that. After all, one would think that the main subject of the whole lawsuit thingie is just this online site that nobody has heard of — Facebook. Bah, what’s that? Charut!

But because it is Fincher, and because it is Facebook, ay, F to F itey. No, not femme to femme, you lesbian you! (Or ako lang ‘yon.) Fincher and Facebook. Nice combo meal. Let’s chicha.

Dubbed as “The Facebook movie,” it was fun to watch as you get to know the story behind the invention of the latest online craze to capture the world. It was fascinating to see why it was indeed such a fascinating and addictive site, this Facebook thing, which started in the annals of ivy league schools in the US of A. Mostly, scenes were just about people talking, talking and talking, like a he said-they said type of narrative. Potential snooze-fest as I said, but surprisingly, it was not.

Perhaps that’s because one who is familiar with FB will find it curious enough, how the site started, and all that. And I think that is where the charm of the film lies — sa intriga. Aminin, intrigera lang tayong lahat, at nakiki-chismis lang tayo sa mga kaganapan sa Harvard noong mga 2003-2004 na nagaganap ang lahat ng ito sa isang dorm room ng mga geeks. REVENGE OF THE NERDS anyone? This is so ’80s, right? But technology today makes it possible to make the nerds and the geeks rule the world. And actually, they already are. Like hello, Bill Gates? Wala nang iba.

So yes, this film is fueled by the intrigue behind it, and Fincher’s directorial pacing helps in delivering this story, aided of course by the writing of Sorkin, a longtime Hollywood reliable in terms of cinematic storytelling. His was A FEW GOOD MEN. Again, another courtroom drama in the military set-up, producing good lines there like “You can’t handle the truth!” and all that jazz.

It’s basically a simple story of intrigue, one that is countered by the real-life subject of the film, Zuckerberg. Only no matter how hard he denies these events, it’s still dramatic to us, whether real or imagined. And that was what Fincher delivered. It’s time to humanize something as cold and impersonal as a website. And it was actually touching, to a certain extent, to learn that the reason behind the creation of such “cold and impersonal” things are motivations that are warm and very personal — as simple as being turned down by a person you like. It’s that plain and simple, and also the stuff of the good basis of a good narrative for a good movie. Hehe oo na OA na, but obvious bang I like it?

Yes, I do. I like this. I like it. I like Fincher’s work naman in general kasi. At buti na lang hindi si Brad Pitt ang ta-artits dito ha hehe. But Justin Timberlake was kinda channeling Brad in his role as the Napster founder, don’tcha think? Bringing sexy back in his image hehe. Kebs.

So there. I guess I can’t say anything more here, kasi wala, gusto ko siya! No room for improvement? Well, it’s just also a sad reality that even in such new media realms, sexism rules, like what a New York Times review said. Totoo naman, na ganun ang kultura. Pero siyempre labas na iyan sa film. Nakita naman natin sa pelikula at sa kuwento, e. Pucha, yung Facemash na lang, e! Misogynistic indeed. Well, let’s just hope that Zuckerberg also underwent na some gender sensitivity trainings over the years. Para maiba naman ang landscape. Sana.

But still, good movie, good invention.

Um, which segues into this local film.

Imbentor indeed.

 

‘TILL MY HEARTACHES END

d. s. Joey Reyes

dop. Jun Aves

e. Vito Cajili

c. Gerald Anderson, Kim Chiu

Pitch: A no-boyfriend-since-birth new nursing grad finds it hard to balance life and a newly discovered lovelife with a former chickboy of an ambitious young condo selling agent. Daw. Heh nahirapan akong isuma itoh.

Catch: Parang walang katuturan ang kuwento, kaganapan,at hay, ang buong pelikula.

Ang isa sa mga unang tinatanong naming faculty bilang kaguruan sa UP Film Institute sa mga batang gumagawa ng pelikula ay ito: What’s the purpose of your film? Parang gusto ko ring itanong ito kay direk Joey.

Direk, what’s the purpose of this film? Reply in 3-5 sentences lang. Chos.

The reason I ask is because the narrative unfolding is so askew that you don’t know what’s first, what’s next, and what’s last. Not that nonlinear storytelling doesn’t work. It does, but not in this film. Hay, bakit kaya?

Well, this is because of that imbentor thingie I mentioned at the beginning. I think Direk was trying to reinvent the concept of cinema. Imagine that! Imagine watching this film, the operative word being “watching” dapat. But no, pagpasok mo sa sine, pagkaubos mo ng cheezey fries, iced tea at siomai (mga chicha ko hehe, oops buko!), dapat e tumutok ka sa pinilakang tabing para manood ng mga kaganapan. Manood.

But even if you close your eyes, you can actually follow this film, because it mostly ran on dialogues. And sadly, nothing else. Yes, it was like a 100% gabfest, with the film being opened by a scene where Kim’s character waits in a coffee shop to talk to Gerald’s character. And when they begin to talk, another scene cuts in to feature the talking mag-ina Boots Anson Roa and Matet, or was it mag-jowa Matet and this guy who plays her jowa? basta in another time frame, presumably one after the coffee shop scene. Dapat. Ewan, basta ang kasunod, pinag-uusapan nila si Kimerald lang. Ganun lang. That’s the whole frigging film! They just talk, talk amongst themselves, talk about the Kimerald couple’s love story beginnings and its eventual end and the effect of its ending on the girl, and that’s it. Talk talk talk. Lahat ng drama, lahat ng conflict, sa laway lang dinadaan. At wala nang iba.

So yes, Direk was able to reinvent cinema here, kasi this is not a film to be watched, but a film to be heard! Imagine that. Audio cinema, anyone? Ito na ‘yun. Para ka lang nakikinig ng radio drama sans the cool special foley-in sounds. Ewan. Labo. Scene after scene, people are just talking. Talking and talking. Buti nga kung may portions na interesting ang usapan. Pero kahit kuwento ng mga karakter, parang di mo trip sundan dahil inconsistent ang characterization.

Hay, barkada ko pa naman nung college ang editor nito. At least may pulso. Pero a badly-written script can’t really be salvaged by the good pulse of an editor’s cuts and stitches kasi. Hay. Sayang. Sayang pera. Sayang oras ko.

Well, at least hindi cookie cutter acting moda sila rito. Maybe it’s because it’s a drama, unlike the past local comedies I’ve seen, excluding Vice Ganda in PETRANG KABAYO ha. He has a category of his own hehe. Yes I’m still a fan.

Anyway, wala, olats. This film is not even so ready that it needs to  be workshopped heavily. It looks like a first draft! They were discussing this briefly in TV5’s Juicy chismis show kanina, sabi “Ginawa lang ni direk yan ng 6 weeks!” meaning sinulat daw niya in that short span of time daw. ‘Sus. Tita Cristy, may script akong sinulat in one month lang, nanalo pa ng award, not once, but almost twice! Hehe. Paano ‘yun? Chos.

Oh well. Isa lang masasabi natin…

Next!

Isang bagsak: hagalpak, ligwak, wapak!

Posted in bioflick, book to film, comedy film, flashbacking, graphic novel/comics to film, Hollywood dream factory, Philippine Cinema on October 21, 2010 by leaflens

Or in short, here are a few movies I’ve seen in recent weeks. All in one go. Isang bagsak! May funny, may hindi, may ayos lang, merong swak. Pero all in all, iisa lang ang silbi nila sa akin — movies always save my life. In a manner of speaking. Ah basta!

Unahin natin ang may tatak-Academy Award, shall we? Well, at least the actor in the lead.

EAT PRAY LOVE

d. Ryan Murphy

story based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert

c. Julia Roberts

Pitch: New York writer gets fed up with romantic relationships and separates herself from the New World to go eat pasta and pizza in the Old World, meditate with one of the oldest  civilizations/religions of the world, and hies off to expat isle. Wala bitterocampo lang ang synopsis-writing ko kasi I haven’t been to Bali and Italy. India yes pero not to pray though nagpa-ayurvedic massage ako. Authentic!

Catch: Well, who do you see? I see Julia, not Elizabeth. Aye, there’s the rub.

If you will re-imagine this film to fit any of the other Julia movies, it might be an interesting mash-up.

Roll cam, shall we?

Seq. 1. Ext. By a beach in Bali. Sunset.

Julia stands in front of Javier Bardem who’s still ruggedly handsome even if he looks unkempt. Julia smiles her Julia-smile and speaks.

JULIA

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to take me out to an island which an expat can buy but the locals can’t afford.

JAVIER

Ah mierda. Sorry, I thought you were Vicky. Or Cristina. Woody, what’s the next scene? I don’t like bitches. I mean beaches.

Seq. 2.   Ext. Streets of Italy. Morning.

Julia wanders around the narrow cobblestone streets on her first day in Italy, a few people scattered doing their businesses of the day. A dark-haired lean-looking Italian man in a scooter passes by and whistles at her.

ITALIAN MAN

Bella donna! (whistles) Kees meeh! Mwaaah!

Since Julia is still learning Italian, she frowns. She spots a huge-eyed blond woman also wandering around the streets following another woman, and stops her to ask.

JULIA

Uh, excuse me. You look like you’re American, so… W-what did that guy say to me, the one that whistled?

WOMAN

Oh, bella donna. Pretty woman. Kiss me. That’s what he said.

JULIA

Okay thanks. (to man) Not on the mouth! I don’t kiss on the mouth!

WOMAN

Hmp. Cinderfuckinrella.

JULIA

Excuse me, did you say something?

WOMAN

Nothing. I’m following that girl. Those that write letters. They seem to be sticking it to some wall of some building… addressed to someone named Juliet.

JULIA

Juliet? You mean Julia! I am Julia!

WOMAN

No, Juliet. Like Romeo and Juliet, duh.

JULIA

Wait, what set is this? We’re shooting Eat Pray Love, honey.

WOMAN

Excuse me, my name ain’t honey, it’s Amanda. We’re shooting Letters to Juliet here.

JULIA

Oh shut up and get your own street of Italy somewhere else, you tourist!

WOMAN

Oh shut up and do something else! This American-in-Italy shtick was already done, and in a better way, by Frances Mayes in Under The Tuscan Sun!

JULIA

Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to India!

Seq. 3. Int. Meditation place in India. Afternoon.

The hot afternoon wakes up Julia, who fell asleep during the group meditation. Richard from Texas who looks like James Taylor walks near her and nudges her.

JULIA

I… think I fell asleep.

RICHARD

Ya don’t say. Good thing you’re still neatly seated on that cushion on the floor despite dozing off. How’d you manage not to fall or tip over? Like ya got some sort of body balance thing or somethin’.

JULIA

They’re called boobs, Ed. I mean Richard from Texas who looks like James Taylor.

Okay iyan lang kaya ng powers ko hehe. Don’t let me go on. Aabot tayo hanggang MYSTIC PIZZA sige ka hehehe. At isasama ko ang STEEL MAGNOLIAS nakita mo.

And for local distributors, may suggestion ako. You could actually subtitle this as —

“Eat Pray Love”

Or, ano ba ang nais mo sa buhay, teh?

Okay end of review. Hehe.

Hay naku, ligwak. Wala, wala talaga akong napulot sa pelikulang ito. Siguro maganda ‘yung librong pinagbasehan. Makahanap nga sa Booksale.

Pero kebs dahil ito pa rin ang rerebyuhin namin bukas ng Biyernes sa aming CINE CHICHIRYA radio show. Listen to us. Live kami, via AM radio or streaming sa internet. Click here!

Buti pa sa isang pelikulang di ko inaakalang magugustuhan ko. May napulot akong isang golden nugget kahit di ko inaasahan.

WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS

d. Oliver Stone

c. Michael Douglas, Shia Labeouf, Carey Mulligan

Pitch: Young dude who works in the stock exchange chorva gets his baptism of fire by interacting with his fiancee’s dad, the erstwhile Wall Street old dude. Oh man don’t talk to me about stock exchange and other economics/business/financial-related thingie because my eyes just glaze over, like I was zapped by a raygun. Pramis. Hence this synopsis.

Catch: I still don’t like that Labeouf dude. He can act better than Keanu pero ewan, may kulang e. Di ko shia bet.

Oliver still has that directorial touch. Imagine making me interested in a topic that usually makes my eyes glaze over.

Since this has been in the trailers rounds for like the longest time, I felt I had to watch it, just because. And since there was no good release the week I watched this, well, no choice.

But I’m glad I did. It was interesting. When I was in New York last March, the thought of stopping at the subway station marked “Wall Street” didn’t interest me as much as stopping at the subway station marked “Christopher Street” so I never really saw all those buildings and stuff, the subject and location of the old movie version of the same title but with Charlie Sheen in the lead with Douglas. And oh yeah, Sheen makes a cameo here. So did Oliver. Kakaiba ang mga boylet na ito, ‘no?

I still think this Shia guy is not all that, since he seems to be taking over a lot of good second-lead roles in Hollywood lately. My first protest was his being in the latest version of Spielberg’s classic INDIANA JONES line, where he seems to be channeling the coolness of an earlier second-lead young actor in an earlier Indiana Jones film named River Phoenix. He doesn’t compare. Hay, I miss River and his films during the ’80s tuloy. Now that’s real talent.

Siya, ilang saglit ng katahimikan. Magbigay-pugay sa maagang namatay…

That’s me in front of Johnny Depp’s club where River dropped dead from a drug overdose years ago.  (April 2010, along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Photo taken by my friend Hazel)

So imagine the agony in this film. But fresh out of AN EDUCATION is Carey Mulligan, who sports this really trendy bob cut, and don’t be surprised if my hair looks like that like tomorrow, okay? She just looks nice here. And yes, it was her character’s nagkaroon-ng-lamat relasyon with Shia’s character that produced that golden nugget I was telling you about. It just blew me away when, habang mega-crayola siya sa harap ng jowa, she said:

CAREY

We’re supposed to make each other feel safe. If not, what’s the point?

Sabay alis at hiwalay na sila ng jowa.

Can you say WAPAK!!!

Kill me now!!!!! *saksak sa puso* Hanep, right? But that illuminated the whole month of September for me, something EAT PRAY LOVE didn’t do. Hmp.

Wala, ‘yan lang ang review hehe.

Tawa naman diyan.

PETRANG KABAYO

d. Wenn Deramas

p. Viva Films

c. Vice Ganda

Pitch: Isang baklitang batang inampon ng hacienderang may kabayuhan ang lumaki bilang malditang baklita kaya pinarusahan siya ng diyosa ng mga kabayo para turuan ng leksiyon sa paggalang sa kapwa at pagmamahal nang tunay. Echos.

Catch: Kung wala si Vice Ganda dito, bagsak ito!

Vice Ganda, the host/judge of the near-noontime show Showtime on ABS-CBN, brings his stand-up comedy bar-sharpened wit and punchlines to make this sorry excuse of a remake of a very funny ’80s film come to life. If not, dead on arrival na ito sa first day-last day moda sa takilya.

As usual, the characters are based on the story originated by legendary comics writer Pablo S. Gomez, so you know it’s good. Well, at least the origins siguro. Or maybe it was the way this film was directed. The film really didn’t have clear-cut direction and it again harks back to the old days of ’80s pastiche and kitsch, sans the good storyline aided by the presence of Roderick Paulate. Na-miss ko naman bigla ang Tonight with Dick and Carmi days anubeh.

Pero winner lang ang lines ni Petra aka Vice. Puma-punchline, all the time.

Ama: Anak, patawarin mo ako.

Petra: Tawad? Sa palengke na lang uso ang tawad!

*

Julalay: Ser, ipapasok ko na ho ba itong mga papeles sa loob?

Petra: Hindi, ipapasok mo sila sa labas! Kaya nga ipapasok e, o, sa loob kasi. Sige nga, lumabas ka, at subukan mong ipasok sa labas!

*

Secretary: Sir, gusto niyo ng coffee?

Petra: Sige…

Secretary: Black coffee po?

Petra: Blue, kaya mo? Sige nga!

Actually marami pa ‘yan hehe. I don’t know why pero benta siya sa akin hahaha! Kasi siguro bakla rin akong may caustic wit. May ganung factor.

I’m mostly paraphrasing some but you get the drift hehe. Makes me think that the scriptwriter actually just wrote the lines of the other actors and then Vice’s dialogue lines are left blank para makapagsaksak siya ng sarili niyang brand ng witty but sarcastic retorts. Hm interactive scriptwriting kung ganun! Puwedeh!

Well other than that, I like the animation inserts of the comedic horse. And then I don’t like the way the discussion of Petra’s father hurting him because of his homosexuality was just dropped during the latter half of the film. Walang closure ang mga plot points at cause and effect chains here. Wala, deus ex machina lang karamihan. Na naitatawid ng punchlines nga. What did you expect?

Oh well. Siya sige, isa na lang.

For the tanderrifics!

RED

d.Robert Schwentke

story based on the DC Comics graphic novels

c. Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman

Pitch: Retired extremely dangerous (hence RED) kinda oldish agents get roused from their quiet retirement when they become the targets of their seemingly old company (the CIA) under the covert bidding of a high government official.

Catch: Wala, cute siya. You know what to expect and it’s delivered to you, neatly packed in a sealed container.

It’s nice that they’re tapping more graphic novels and turning them into films. Even the not-so-popular titles I’ve picked up over the years in some book sales have good stories naman. E siyempre pina-sosyal lang naman na komiks ang graphic novels. Kinda like the old days of komiks in the Philippines during the ’80s where we all grew up reading them and, for some of the more imaginative and enthusiastic of us, devouring them. Ayus.

Dito, I like the way my favorite actors seem to gather together in a cool project that is reachable to audiences of today, whether young or old alike. Imagine Helen Mirren firing high-powered weapons while elegantly wearing a white dress. Sankapa!

Lavet, lola!

That made my night. Or John Malkovich in a rather one-dimensional but funny portrayal pa rin of a kinda-neurotic ex-agent, in contrast with the dapper gentleman agent of Morgan Freeman. Panalo ang casting. At hindi kailangan ng extra doses of testosterone to pull it off. Ahem, cough cough, EXPENDABLES ba kamo? Cough cough. But I digress.

And then there’s Mary-Louise Parker, a fixture of films of my youth since, discreetly, the films she has been in were touching upon–if not glossing over–some sapphic themes.

Like haller FRIED GREEN TOMATOES? Talagang nawala ang lesbianic subplot sa movie version ng book noh.

Or BOYS ON THE SIDE na siya pala ang kras ng tibamchi character ni Whoopi Goldberg. O devah sumubplot talaga ang ateh sa review na ito hehe. Wala lang. She’s just hovering over Hollywood, in TV and films, and I’m glad she’s surviving. Para lang may nag-iba sa fez ng lola mo now. Di ko mawari. Nose job? Pa-banat? Parang di nag-age, e. Oh well, good for her.

Maganda rin naman ang role niya dito. A necessary plot device to get the film going, which is typical of any male-female conflict-driven plot. The not-so-complicated espionage story was handled with a breeze by the director, who also directed THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE pala, and Jodie Foster my love’s FLIGHT PLAN. Puwedeh.

*

O siya, hanggang diyan na lang muna at magandang gabi. Hanggang sa susunod na sine. Kapag kaya na ulit ng powers.

you know Hollywood’s in trouble when…

Posted in bioflick, Hollywood dream factory with tags , , on February 1, 2010 by leaflens

… you have films like these:

TOOTH FAIRY

d. michael lembeck

c. dwayne johnson, julie andrews

pitch: arrogant hockey player eats humble pie by being a tooth fairy for the week, in turn reviving dream-believing in children as well as himself

catch: it’s sad to see extraordinary acting greats in an ordinary film…

You know Hollywood’s in trouble when you see super-great thespians like Ashley Judd, Billy Crystal and Julie Andrews in a film with an obvious “comedy blockbuster” pitch. Is there a lack of projects for these people that they have to settle for roles like these in a film like this, a film I would put in my self-created category of “pang-DVD/dibidi moda lamang” (for DVD mode only), meaning I won’t really spend much money watching this kind of film in a theater, where I would normally spend like 150 pesos (US$3) plus another 150 pesos for popcorn and drinks (total US$6) plus travel expenses, and instead watch this when it comes out on DVD (in my neighborhood rental stores or my friendly neighborhood optical media pirate). That is how I gauge films. With the cost of living expenses not getting better in Manila, I’d rather spend my hard-earned money on films that are worth watching on the big screen. Sadly, this ain’t one of that.

But I have to admit, the super-thin linear plot of the film somehow works with the kind of concept it has. Imagine learning the tricks of the trade of fantasy characters like the tooth fairy, a fantasy character that North Americans believe in much like Santa Claus. Here in the Philippines, we don’t have a counterpart for the tooth fairy, and I’ve never heard of someone doing that “hide the fallen tooth under the pillow for money” thing in any way, ever. So this foreign mythology still remains foreign to us, and therefore a film about this mythology remains merely as a, well, simple film with a cute storyline. That’s all.

But the cuteness of it worked for me somewhat, if not for the great thespians that I originally pitied at the beginning upon seeing them here. On the other hand, if they were not here, this film would not have that pizazz that I bought hook, line and sinker. I mean, imagine Mary Poppins or Maria Von Trapp playing a freaking tooth fairy godmother!!! Yes, complete with British accent and all. And what about WHEN HARRY MET SALLY’s Harry, who brilliantly played the eccentric tooth fairy gadgets master here, in his usually brilliant comic way. Man, I wish Billy Crystal would go back to hosting awards shows like the Grammys or the Oscars. Aside from Whoopi Goldberg and Ellen Degeneres, no one else should host such awards. Sila lang! But I digress.

maria von trapp... with wings!

And then there’s Ashley Judd, who already cut her teeth doing dramatic roles, and whom I always mistake for Charlize Theron hehe. But she could hold her own. I distinctly remember her as the emotionally conflicted wife of bisexual Cole Porter in his bioflick DE-LOVELY. Love the soundtrack of that one. I’ve always been a Cole Porter fan kasi, but I digress.

I don’t like it that Ashley seems to be the only one who doesn’t have a character with a unique twist, or some sort of thespian challenge of sorts. Heck, even a former wrestler could have such a major twist for his character, why not her? She ended up as the mother of the kids, the girlfriend of the protagonist, and that’s it. Oh man, any Hollywood doozie could play that!!! Why her???

Oh well. With news that Miramax is shutting down and all that, and then I see this, oh no, is Hollywood on red alert na? Maybe blue alert. Or orange? Ewan.

Next!

THE BLIND SIDE

d. john lee hancock

s. based on the book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game”

c. sandra bullock

pitch: based on the real-life story of a white Southerner family who adopts an impoverished black kid and helps to mold him into a great football player chorva

catch: sandra darling, lay off the botox, for real Academy Award-type of acting

Ewan ko lang ha, but when Sandra Bullock starts winning acting awards for films that really didn’t demand much of an acting stretch from her, Hollywood, again, is in trouble. I mean, can’t we not see that the botox is preventing her from acting at all!!! Nubah! This is so obvious doon pa lang sa THE PROPOSAL anubeh! Bring back the Sandra facial expressions I so sorely love and miss sa DEMOLITION MAN, and the super-hilarious MISS CONGENIALITY, WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING and of course sa SPEED. Kalurkey.

I’ve read somewhere that she was even being compared to Julia Roberts’ ERIN BROCKOVICH performance and win, which they say are kinda parallel to this film. But with that one, you could see where Julia’s Julia-ness and Erin’s character meshed and gelled together very well, like how sodium would blend well with chloride to produce salt hehe or some kinda chemical compound thing like that. You know what I mean.

Sadly, as much as I like Sandra’s cuteness over the decades, I so do not support this win. I hope she finds another material and I certainly hope she lays off the botox first, to get a more deserved win.

But on the up side, I admire the real-life people behind this story. Times like these, with bad news and all, all over the world and beyond, it’s so nice to see that there are still some people who are good and kindhearted like the family portrayed here. The family supported the story well, acting-wise, and of course the guy who played Big Mike, the impoverished black kid who became a football star. It’s just scary to realize that, in the time of Obama-ness, there are still some parts of America that wish ill for the black folks. So sad, and really so scary, come to think of it. I so do not want to go to such areas, so I’ll stick with traveling to multi-cultural places like the two coasts, thank you very much. Okay na ako doon.

Oh well. Next!

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