Archive for the book to film 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.]


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.


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.



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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


Hmp. Cinderfuckinrella.


Excuse me, did you say something?


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.


Juliet? You mean Julia! I am Julia!


No, Juliet. Like Romeo and Juliet, duh.


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


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


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


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!


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.


I… think I fell asleep.


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’.


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.


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:


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.


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!


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.

The Beach (book and film)

Posted in book to film on March 10, 2009 by leaflens



The Beach
(1996) novel by Alex Garland – 5stars
(2000) film by Danny Boyle – 2stars

two in one ulit, even though medyo 9 years apart ang pag-experience sa kanilang dalawa. keri pa rin.

simply put, i love the book. this could have very well been the first offerings of travel fiction depicting my generation as bida, and i love it. i love what the film is saying about the creation of different kinds of travelers, kung tourist ka o traveler ek, plus the discourse about the noble savage or the semblance of a “civil society” eklavu present in other favorites like LORD OF THE FLIES. tama yung isang book review, this is a lord of the flies for generation x, which is my generation, kaya siguro dig ko siya.

like the protagonist, i am also a traveler although hindi ako masyadong backpack mentality. more like budget traveling siguro, kaya nag-appeal sa akin ang lonely planet publications before (up to now; i kinda collect the lonely planet editions of places i visit). i coined a term for some of these backpackers before, lalo na yung mga nakakasalamuha ko papuntang baguio o sagada — euro-dugyut (kung may euro-trash…). medyo nyoho na kasi yung ilan sa kanila, siguro bilang di sanay sa daily baths, at saka siguro dahil nga backpacker chenes. ewan ko lang. pero madaming tulad nila noon, lalo na ngayon, na nagkalat sa pinas. at okay namang makasalamuha ang mga europeans kesa sa, say, north americans. well, except some snobbish french guys, but that’s another blog post…

which brings me to my biggest beef sa film — bakit american ang bida??? the novel’s protagonist is a british gen-x-er who has a soft spot for the philippines while leo dicaprio’s american version is of course not mentioning philippines at all. kebs ng kano sa pinas, right? hmp. chaka siya! and that whole “being called chicken” crap na eksena, yung uminom siya ng snake blood sa khao sarn road dahil ayaw niyang mabansagang duwag american, sus! walang ganung ego chenes sa book! so american talaga yung ek na yun sa film, pero sige, dahil nga sa american na yung film protagonist. all the more that i don’t like it, come to think of it. that american smugness i so remember, especially that scene where american protagonist richard was nonchalantly estimating the distance he and the french couple will swim. sabi nung french dude, “it’s just 2 kilometers.” so parang kaya daw nila languyin. ang sagot ng yabang american “i dunno. i think in miles.” na para bang kebs lang siya at dapat e mag-adjust ang lahat sa paligid niya sa kanya, so dapat i-calculate sa kanya in miles. punyeta! sooo fucking american! wala nito sa libro! kaya siguro hampanget ng film at di nag-iwan ng dent man lang sa akin.

which is why i am so glad i grabbed a copy of the book at booksale when i saw it. it was an engaging read. i like the way language was used here, because it’s in a conversational tone, pero hindi siya ganun ka-straightforward geeky-cum-social commentary like douglas coupland’s novels, pero conversational enough pa rin na ma-e-engage ka sa kinukuwento niya na hindi niya kailangang mag-resort to literary/linguistic hifalutin devices/strategies to tell the story. simple lang, plain, but not boring, and it worked for the kind of story he was telling. panalo. basta ganun ang effect. hindi rin siya tulad ng ibang travel tales na nabasa ko na masyado namang niro-romanticize ang pinuntahang lugar chenelyn to the point of exoticization, although if done well, baka pagbigyan ko ang ganitong moda. pero hindi nga bagay ang ganitong melodya sa kinukuwento dito sa librong to, kaya oks siya as it is.

i also like the way he explores and somehow comments on the backpacker culture in general, lalo na yung commentary sa differences in races and nationalities, ugali etc. panalo yun. nakaka-inspire to write something multicultural like this, too. hm, ba’t nga ba hindi?

tapos chaka lang din na nagkaroon ng love ek yung french girl at si american film boy. sa novel, forever plot device ito na pampahaba, na hindi na-consummate in the end, forever sexual tension lang, kaya mas poignant. nagulat din ako sa ending ha, kasi nga parang so lord of the flies-ish, but i don’t remember it being that way sa film. sayang. the film could have been a cult classic in itself much like how the novel first spoke about backpacker culture in general. major letdown nga nung nakita ko sa film yung much coveted beach. ang reak ko — “yun na yun??? e mas maganda pa ang __ (name a philippine beach) diyan a! what’s the big deal?” indeed, yun ang di nai-translate ng film na magandang na-build-up ng husto sa novel. it’s not basically the attainment of “the beach” but more of what happens when it is attained — this so-called idealized perfection, idealized simplicity of life on the beach ek. yun ang major drama, not the finding of the beach per se. ah basta ibang usapan yun! na nabitin dahil di na-deliver sa film. no woner danny boyle is not proud of this one. i have to agree with him. buti na lang at nag-bounce back siya sa iba niyang films after this one.

yes, one thing is the director. disappointed ako kasi si danny boyle pala ang direktor nun, he of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and TRAINSPOTTING fare. what gives at pumayag siyang hindi brit ang bida? dapat nagpaka-jk rowling clause siya, na dapat lahat ng gaganap sa pelikula version e brit like what she did with her HARRY POTTER series. hmp! sayang! nasasayangan ako! maganda pa naman si virginie ledoyen, the french girl in the movie hehe. siya lang ata ang accurate translation from book to film. the rest, lalo na yung character ni tilda swinton (na jubis-jubis sa nobela) na ang layo ng interpretation, tapos may love angle pa sila ni american protagonist! e hindi naman ganun ang character nilang dalawa, lalo na niya. nasira para sa akin yung essence ng character niya when they did that. sayang!

hay naku.

pero for that, na-inspire akong bilhin ang next novel niya after this, yung TESSERACT. set in the philippines daw yun, kaya yun ang gusto kong makita. sige, larga muna ko sa booksale. 🙂


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


originally posted at


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”).



Posted in book to film, queer cinema, queer issues in film on September 15, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at


s. based on the novel by dorothy allison

the reason why i watch or buy books with dorothy allison’s name is that she is an out lesbian writer who writes well. short stories ang una kong nakita sa kanya noon sa mga lesbian anthologies. kaya nung nakita ko yung librong BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA sa bookstore dati, binili ko. pero di ko pa ito nabasa kasi may nakita ako agad na pelikula nito sa video store. so being the film buff that i am, i watched first. and boy, was it heart-wrenching. hindi ko na mauulit pa yung storyang yun, so the book now remains unread to this day. hambigat kasi men.

enter cavedweller. i don’t have a copy of the novel pero what the hey, watch the dvd na lang muna. so that i did. and as typical of allison’s stories, it is set in some midwestern/southern (not so sure) state in the US where they have twangs where they speak. medyo redneck country so to speak, for lack of a better description. specialty niyang magkuwento ng mga kuwento mula sa ganitong lugar, ng mga taong not too destitute but sometimes too desperate in their despair. either it will hit you hard or it will make you feel so detached. with this one, i am rather detached. maybe it’s the way the visuals unfolded, or the story was visualized, pero something in here doesn’t work. i think it’s the pacing. the dramatic beat of the story may have been trying to appropriate the beat of the novel or storytelling pace ni allison in general, pero parang weird. masyado yatang mabagal for cinema to have it unfold that way. or maybe it was the detachment of the characters in the portrayal of their characters. of course, typical allison themes have abused women who run from abusive men. and to note, hindi nga pala lesbian-themed ito, kahit yung BASTARD, because that one’s autobiographical, kaya mas masakit panoorin. saka mas magaling acting dun. dito kasi, ewan ko ba. miscast yata lahat sila.


Posted in book to film, Hollywood dream factory on September 15, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at


c. aaron eckhart

based pala ito sa isang novel. it’s a very interesting story and a very comic one. hinabol ko sa cine adarna at buti na lang sa big screen ko napanood kasi mas epektibo ang dating niya.

maganda ang pagkakagawa, yung stylistics ng filmmaking were utilized very well dito at marami siyang mensaheng naipalabas. at ang pinaka-importante, para sa akin, ay ang “walang black or white sa isyu ng paninigarilyo at lobbying, puro gray area lang” na alam kong alam naman ng lahat pero hindi ina-acknowledge ninuman, kahit ng mga advocates of whatever. puwedeng sabihing anti-smoking ang storya or whatnot, pero i think the story shows more than that. it shows you many sides of a controversial issue and it makes you decide on your own if you will stand in the black, the white or the gray area. kaya effective siya for me. now this is a novel i’d like to read, too, if ever i had the time. gustong-gusto ko yung concept ng barkada nila, yung mod squad or merchants of death kasi yung isa, spinner ng small arms, yung girl tomador kasi alcohol naman hehe tapos siya big tobacco. tapos later nag-expand kasama na ang big oil, loggers, weapons of mass destruction at saka iba pa. hahahaha. nakakatawa. ito dapat inii-sponsor ng mga NGO na film showing hahaha. funny.

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