Archive for the children-young adult content Category

Spinderella cut it up one time!

Posted in children-young adult content, fantasy-mythical, Hollywood dream factory, love story, women's issues in film with tags , , , on March 24, 2015 by leaflens

Or in short, here’s my take on this year’s remake of a tale as old as time, but the messaging is as problematic as ever. Yes, I know it’s as predictable as hell but it still needs to be scrutinized, especially these days when media bombards women and girls with questionable embedded values.


d. Kenneth Branagh

c. Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James

PITCH: That ageless tale of an orphan girl with a wicked stepmum and stepsisses who, out of kindness and through magic, snags herself a prince charming with a foot fetish of sorts. Okay glass slippers na nga!

CATCH: That ageless tale just rebooted its age-old problematic messaging and what this tale actually related to young girls out there.

That this film was directed by Kenneth Branagh surprised me more than anything. But no amount of Shakespearean creds or great film creds (Much Ado About Nothing or Dead Again or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein my fave! to name a few) could spin this tale out of its eventual tunnel vision of a message: that in order to get out of a miserable life, a girl needs to be kind and suffer first in order to snag a prince charming. Whoopteedoo.

Daniel Radcliffe, Kenneth Branagh, and Rupert Grint

Or maybe he was directing it as Gilderoy Lockhart. Yeah, Ron’s face, mine as well. Waaah Emma Thompson o! Oops, baka marinig ni Helena BC heheh.

Fine, given that the film didn’t identify its era so we automatically assume that it was from that era where women are considered property of men, saved only by virtue of being the daughter of a man or the wife of one (which still happens today devahhhhh but I digress). Since Cinderella didn’t have both a dad and a jowa, then she just tried to make do with what life handed out to her, until that fated prince comes along.

And this is where my sweetheart and I reacted when watching this film: that women like Cindy here would just accept what life handed her, without giving up a fight. I mean, is she that naive and trusting that she would just accept all the atrocities that her step-sibs/mum would hand her? Siyempre dahil mga palabang eba kaming mag-jowa, bumubula ang bibig namin nang panoorin namin ito, right? [Yup, dapat nasa Insurgent kami pero may kasama kaming kids at ito ang type nila, so there, k.] Granted that Branagh gave us a glimpse of a “palabang eba, slight” ni Cindy during that scene na parang “kinakaawaan” niya ang katangahan ng step-sibs niya, still, it’s not enough for us to forego all of the pang-aapi that she just received without a whimper. And this is where that idea of female sufferance enters the picture, where women ought to just accept these burdens thrown upon her, because woman! Kainis. Fine, given din na pinakita naman ni Branagh na may spunk kahit papaano si Cindy when she encountered the prince for the first time sa forest, pero onetime bigtime lang ito teh, at pag-uwi niya sa balur, yagit mode pa rin ang peg ni ati. Di ko bet.

I don’t know what’s more dangerous: Cinderella being portrayed as naive to the evils of other people, or that naivete is being disguised as kindness. After all, her mantra was her mother’s dying habilin: have courage and be kind. But mum forgot to lecture her that in order to be courageous, one has to stand up when people are being unkind na, right? Isn’t this akin to just accepting bullying when one is being bullied? With so many problems regarding bullying that kids these days face, they don’t really need another film to reassure them that being bullied now is okay because later, a prince will save the day! Kalerks. They should save themselves dapat ang peg. But no, Shrek kasi ‘yun. or Ever After.

And that’s also one point that my sweetheart reacted to: hindi ganyan ang ma-inlove k! Meaning love is not just about finding someone secretly and then later revealing their real identities and then later ulit inlab na sila. Fine, granted na love at first sight ito, a la Romeo and Juliet, but you know what actually happened to those two star-crossed lovers, right? [Na-tegi sila teh k!] At saka hindi mo mahahanap ang trulab mo because of her shoe size. Pero sige na nga, dahil magical naman ito, I’ll give you that: a shoe-fitted love.

And that’s another thing kung saan din kami nag-react: na hindi masasagot ng magic-magic lang ang prublema mo. No caru? Have pumpkin for a coach! No dress? Bibbity-bobbity-boo RTW courtesy of fairy godmother’s wand. No julalays? Have rats and lizards turn into humans for a few hours. At gorabels na sa ball! Tugz tugs na si teh. Winner.

Well, I guess wala na naman akong magagawa sa tale as old as time na ito, with messaging as dangerous as shit, so I tried to focus on the finer points of the film while watching it. And it involved fixating on the stellar cast . I mean haller, Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmum pare. Dapat mag-usap sila ni Angelina Jolie mylab at gumawa ng Maleficent meets Cinderella’s Evil Stepmum movie pare! Patok sa takilya yun.


If only for this scene, watch this film and see how this Academy Award-winning thespian makes bawi this forgettable story. Walang kupas!

I don’t know how much she was challenged in portraying this role, but she sure looked like she was having fun channeling filmic femme fatales for this role hehe. I don’t know but she reminded me of Marlene Dietrich in some scenes, while that emerging-from-the-dark scene confronting Cinderella and her glass slipper was just awesome. It felt like it didn’t belong in this film. Yes, that’s Branagh indeed, bumabawi si bakla lolz.










Dietrich, meet Blanchett. Pero minsan rume-Rebecca rin ang peg ni ati so hmm ayan hodgepodge.


At kumusta naman din na andito ang alter-ego ni Bellatrix Lestrange in the form of Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of the Fairy Godmother. Again, I guess she was trying to find some deeper hugot of this character pero wala naman talagang mahuhugot dito. So I guess she had fun playing this “alter ego” hihihi. Yes, I get it: raket lang ito, kids. Sige, kelangang kumita paminsan-minsan.


Uhm, Black Swan ba ituh lola Helena? It’s the wand, ano? Lolz. 

As for the notion of a happily ever after, I think there are many tales that have debunked this already, so maybe that’s why they decided to humanize the prince here, so he won’t be altogether 100% charming. By injecting some angst into him (i.e. I want to marry for love, not for political connections chenerz), we could now justify why he ran away from the ball and went bouncing after the belle in blue. Although that landian scene sa swing was a bit funny, and I detected a bit of sexual nuance here hehe. Puwede siyang symbolism for a one night stand kaya haller (i.e. landian blues then hawakan blues then takbuhan blues then ask si bakla ng “What is your name?” sa kalandian lolz yeah I’m overreading #bagotarepublic na by this point).


Ako lang ba ang bothered sa bakat ni boylet??? #himatay

Well, what more can I say? If you want to see a live action version of this Disney animated classic, then go ahead and watch this, if only for these superb actors. Other than that, just be prepared to guide impressionable young minds who might be watching this with you, and help them un-suspend their disbelief after watching this story. Yes, because they’ll need it, teh. K? K.


Have a gay day the “indie film” way yey!

Posted in children-young adult content, Cine Filipino, digital film, indie films, Philippine Cinema, queer cinema, queer issues in film, women's issues in film on September 26, 2013 by leaflens

September was a happy time for new film releases that are not made under the auspices of film production companies that either mangle brilliant scripts by letting them “be critiqued” by their lupon of creative consultants or don’t touch inanely written “template films” (read: nagawa mo na ‘yan last year direk and the year before and the year before…) by writer-directors who think they’re god’s gift to Philippine Cinema (I don’t know which god, though. Lucifer? God ba siya? Bad angel pala. Basta, kung sinuman boss niya, ‘yun.).

The first thing I’m talking about is this:


The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) had a fest called Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival All Masters Edition where our living legends were given the greenlight to make films they wanted with concepts they believed in. I just wish these films could have ran longer since people had to catch different screening times and it’s difficult to sync that with one’s life. So I’m reviewing one film from that batch muna for now.

The second thing I’m talking about is this:

cine filipino

Yet another digital film festival grant-giving venture, this time from PLDT Smart Foundation and Unitel, a.k.a. Mr. Manny Pangilinan dude. Again, I wish they didn’t just screen for a week in select theaters where you will make habol the screening times again which, again, is hard to sync with one’s life. Just saying, hey. And I’m reviewing one film from that batch here din.

Queer focus for now.

lihisposterLIHIS (2013)

d. Joel Lamangan

s. Ricky Lee

dop. Mo Zee

c. Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon, Lovi Poe, Isabelle Daza, Gloria Diaz

Pitch: Two male members of the New People’s Army (NPA) reinterpret norms and ideals by fighting for the country’s democracy while maintaining a sexual-romantic relationship. Gives new color to the chant “Maki-beki! ‘Wag ma-shokot!” we sometimes shout during pride marches hmm.

Catch: Not enough alindog shots of Lovi Poe my lust. I’m a lesbian eh — wrong market Jake and Joem! Just saying lol.

What I like about this film is the pumping scene. Scenes pala, plural. Malilibog ang mga neps na ‘to, pare. As in teh, wala pang 5 minutes into the film/exposition/Act I, may mega-pumping nang nagaganap sa dalawang boylet na matapang! You never know what happens in them boondocks, now, do you? Now we kinda do. Kidding.

What I really like about this film is that there’s some kind of tightness in the way the material was handled — well, overall, maybe, but there are a few kinks here and there, of course. The story is tight enough to stand, tight enough for the premise to be believable — that there could indeed be two “ordinary-looking” men with communist ideals and guns to have strong desires for each other. It was also presented in a matter-of-fact way, like the way other storylines could be presented — that hey, there’s this rebel dude and there’s this rebel guy and they want to fight for the country side by side while loving each other. Indeed, the treatment of the relationship was tender and loving, and none of that “I’m not gay” disclaimer shiz that was present in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN before. In here, the gayness need not be spelled out by the people who have homosexual desires  because they were obviously comfortable in their skins about their sexualities. In short, hindi issue sa kanila ang pagiging beki, teh. Mas isyu pa ‘yung baka matagpuan ng kalaban at mabaril sa engkuwentro.

Pagtapos ng barilan, espadahan naman! Yehessss LOL. Salamat sa mabait na nilalang na gumawa ng montage na ito. Pahiram ha.

Pagtapos ng barilan, espadahan naman! Yehessss LOL. Salamat sa mabait na nilalang na gumawa ng montage na ito. Pahiram ha.

But the heterosexual girl had an issue about the homosexuality, and this is where the first story kink comes in. Lovi Poe as that strong female NPA character had quite a few undeveloped angst storylines that got carried over in the adult version of her (read: When Lovi Poe grows up, she becomes Gloria Diaz pala. Puwede na rin; same kalidad ng alindog, once upon a time.) particularly her angst about “finding out” if her NPA crushie-turned-hubby (Joem’s NPA writer-intellectual character) is indeed gay or at least bi, and then having a fuss about it later in life. There were times when it seemed that her character was clueless about the relationship but then later on, it was also revealed that she knew about it in the first place. So why harbor the gay hate attitude later on, girl? That was kinda confusing for me, man. In the end, i just chalked it up to the character being proud, as in “nakukuha ko ang lahat ng gusto ko” kind of proud — including getting the man she desires, the gay man she desires pala. Ewan, labo ni ateh.

And then there’s another issue of having a kind of “cover-up” in the death of the two gay rebels. Her older version seemed to have some angst about people not knowing the real score about how the two died, or her doing a cover-up of the real story and shiz. This was tied up to her older version’s grown-up daughter’s (Isabelle Daza) quest of finding the real facts about what happened to that seemingly buried history of a massacre in a small town — the town where the two gay rebels supposedly died, and no one supposedly survived save for this kid who grew up and got stuck in a mental institution. Uh, yeah, if I lost you, sorry I got lost, too. These are the other kinks that needed to be ironed out in the film because I think it’s predominantly the gay storyline that got brainstormed better than the rest.

And yes, why wouldn’t it? It’s a quaint and novel premise that’s not seen in many popular culture forms. Gay NPAs, sankapa teh! That in itself sells the story without effort. Then pepper it with bits and pieces of historical situations then (Marcos era) and now (Noynoy era), and you got a political film, easy. And then show many pumping scenes and kilitian moments between the two handsome gay dues and weh, umupo ka na lang and let the film sell like beefcakes er hotcakes pala. Appeal to prurient interests? Check! Appeal to lovey-dovey marriage equality romantics? Check! Ma-appeal na leading men kissing each other? Check! Pasok sa banga na lahat. And never mind na lang if the pretty Miss Universe-looking (or former Miss Universe title holder) women are also in this film. I guess they’re the eye candy naman for the straights and the lezzies. And I admire them three women because they also gave good acting performances here, sans being framed in a maalindog way (which I still protest BTW but hey…).

Kinilig naman ako sa eksenang ito ng lambutchingan mode. Pero kelangan talagang naka-topless si Jake? Sige na nga...

Kinilig naman ako sa eksenang ito ng lambutchingan mode. Pero kelangan talagang naka-topless si Jake? Sige na nga…

Overall, it’s still a good quality queer film. The lighting was okay naman (except for my eternal angst about blue/uber-liwanag lighting in night scenes in Philippine cinema, but that’s another discourse) and the editing was also good. The directing is surprisingly good as well. Direk Joel is kind of a hit-and-miss director for me, depending on the material he’s handling. But this was surprisingly okay. Ricky’s script was also okay in his ang-bawa’t-karakter-ay-may-bubog kind of way (yet another discourse, saka na lang) which works well here, save for the kinks I mentioned na nga.

If this gets shown somewhere else, it’s still worth catching. So go catch.



d., s. Sigrid Bernardo

dop. Alma Dela Pena

c. Angel Aquino, Teri Malvar and a bunch of talented actors of all ages

Pitch: Tween girl from the province falls in crush with a returning pretty kababayan who has her own secrets to unravel.

Catch: A few kinks in the way some subplots introduced are ended or woven in the main narrative but we overlook it because Angel Aquino is so pretty to look at. Yes we’re biased that way, hey.

What I like about this film is that Angel Aquino is very pretty to look at. In a non-male gaze kind of way. Meaning I am a lesbian and I could look at the film and the shot makes me desire her. If you’re a man and you’re straight then you will also obviously lust after her because that is the default mode of the male gaze. If you’re gay and you like pretty things then you will like the way she was shot because she looked pretty. And if you’re a straight woman then you’ll probably look at her and wonder how she does her hair because it’s so pretty and you want yours to be that pretty, too. All angles — or gazes — covered pare, sankapa hihi. But of course there’s a good motivation behind the perspective, and it’s largely hinged at the main story it’s telling: the teen girl Anita’s developing crush on the prettiest girl in their town. So yes, the way she was shot, it works! Kudos to Alma for this. Plus the overall cinematography na rin, while we’re at it.

Alindog, thy name is Angel. Mas sexy if may itak, bow. LOL

Alindog, thy name is Angel. Mas sexy if may itak, bow. LOL

And I’m glad to see that their tandem is still alive, Alma and Sigrid. Together, they work well cinematically and it shows.  Sigrid’s handling of her own material is also good because it shows that she cares as a director how the scenes should come alive. This is evident in the way the children’s scenes were shot. Anita has two best friends and their barkada trio is a hoot to watch. Although sometimes, having written children’s narratives and directed children’s TV shows, I somehow lose my grip on my disbelief that these kids are real kids. I mean sure, we have bibo kids and we have bibo wunderkinds (like TV’s Ryzza Mae), but some of the dialogues of the kids are too bibo to be true for me. It’s one thing to keep it real in a bibo way, but it’s another to overdo it na kasi. Some are overdone in my opinion, but it’s still a small kink that could get shrugged off anyway.

The main narrative is okay naman. The main story is framed by the present time where we see Anita as a drill sergeant ba or something, basta someone who commands a platoon inside a military base or camp. A package of her mother’s main source of business, the tahong chips (Aha! Tahong talaga ha! I see what ya did there, ya dykes lol!) catapults the whole film into flashback mode to introduce us to Anita during her childhood, back when she was merely a typical teen rebel who misses her dead soldier father so much until she smartened up to win the attention of the love of her little life, Pilar. The whole film’s journey is hinged at the unraveling of why Pilar came back (supposedly to start over a life with an ex-bf who turns out to be Anita’s uncle) and what she does in the meantime (a former OFW physical therapist turned local hilot/massage person) and what she does towards the end of her own narrative (revealing plot dump after plot dump regarding her supposed pregnancy-cum-abortion or her supposed “skills” to “abort” and her main reason for leaving — which was being pregnant and surprise surprise kung sino pala ang nakajontis kay ati and such). Her narrative becomes a bit convoluted and confusing towards the end, which wasn’t helped very much by the dream-like interpretation of the ending sequence with the grown-up Anita coming back and passing by Pilar’s now-abandoned house (of course the cinematic clues lead us to conclude our own conclusions, mainly choosing whether Pilar left or died or whatnot, meaning kayo na bahala kung ano ang nais niyong kinahinatnan ng byuti ni Angel ditey).

So Pilar’s journey is being unraveled together with Anita’s own narrative about having a crush on her and making things work in order to get her little objectives met (mainly to earn enough money to afford a full body massage from Pilar and changing the way she looks to be more impressive). So in this part, we see this Ang Pagbibinata Ni Anita mode which was a happy development in the beginning since the discussion of sexuality was, once again, presented in a matter-of-fact way, meaning it’s okay to Anita and her friends and family that she is developing a crush on another woman. In short, hindi na naman isyu ang pagiging biyaning ni ati. Mas isyu pa ‘yung dapat makasali siya sa sagala at makasama sa pamilya niya sa kanilang yearly visit sa sayaw sa Obando thingie sa Bulacan, their province.

Ang Pagbibinata Ni Anita-batumbakal na taga-frisco. Charut! Kung may kapitbahay din ba akong ganyang kaganda eh di sana mas maaga tayong namulat sa katotohanan ng life, aney? LOL.

Ang Pagbibinata Ni Anita-batumbakal na taga-frisco. Charut! Kung may kapitbahay din ba akong ganyang kaganda eh di sana mas maaga tayong namulat sa katotohanan ng life, aney? But no. LOL.

And that treatment of queerness is what’s formidable in this material. I like the way that the film treats being a lesbian here, that’s it’s a non-issue — which is how it should be treated in real life anyway, hey. And this is what gives the film heart: to see Anita struggling with her crush, trying to court Anita in her own innocent adolescent way (culminating to a funny scene where she tries to pedal the bike where Pilar was riding in its sidecar — hilarous!) and trying to balance her crush and her family/friend “duties” and such. I could see why this kid won the best actress award for this festival since her portrayal is so real and honest, probably a refreshing thing on the big screen lately, huh. So never mind if she knocked out the Superstar in this category. Give chance to others, as we usually say when we played during our youth. Devah?

I just wish that the film was tightened more in terms of its other elements. Like the element of the dance and the cha-cha. While they were running motifs in the film, sometimes they pop out from out of nowhere just to be in that sequence, you know what I’m saying? Like that cha-cha scene in the market as Anita passes by to collect money for her mom’s business, and then she imagines Pilar appearing there and dancing with her. The other dance scenes were okay, like the one in the beginning where two secret lovers were canoodling with each other or even the way Anita’s mother was trying to exercise via dancing. But I’m still trying to figure out the main symbolism of the Obando dance since, in our culture, this is where you go to dance so that the heavens will grant you a child. I’m not sure why Pilar was spotted there towards the end or what’s the meaning of little Anita’s participation in this fertility dance fiesta. But if it’s in the general category of “dance-ask and you shall receive” then okay, I buy that, but what exactly did Anita want to achieve or ask for? As an adult, we see her commanding an army platoon in the beginning and in the end we see her reminiscing about Pilar which culminates into a dream-like sequence nga of adult Anita kissing Pilar (or at least a whiff of her image, an imagined image perhaps).  Is that what’s being asked — an imagined kiss, an imagined closure with a past crush-love? Not very clear, this. And it’s left at that.

The ending left me hanging, even if I loved 80 percent of the film. I wish it could have had more oomph since it gave the feeling of having loose ends towards the end. Perhaps give the adult Anita a lover, a happy support for her life, to maybe conclude and tie it up with the lessons she learned — if any — in the whole teenage flashback regarding her crush with Pilar.

Still, it’s a good film to watch overall. The acting, cinematography and directing will carry you well into the end. It’s also easier to forgive those few narrative lapses in such queer-positive films, actually. So I’m cool with that.

Congrats to the team for pulling this through, though. I wish there were more materials like this one. I’m glad this festival was supportive of queer-positive love-crush things, unlike other festivals we know. But that’s another plot altogether hihi.

Hashtag alam na!




Posted in book to film, children-young adult content, dramedy film, women's issues in film on September 15, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at


s. from the novel by ann brasshares

since there’s a dvd of this lying around somewhere here, i decided to watch it when i saw that the young adult literature (YAL) novel na pinagbasehan nito ay kasama sa “teens read too” 20-book challenge chuva ng adarna house, sponsor ng barlaya YAL workshop na sinalihan ko. dahil sa YAL at amerikano at mga teeny girlies, parang alam ko na ang mangyayari sa pelikula, at sa libro na rin siyempre.

okay ang naratibo niya, not too exciting yet not too boring either. maganda yung concept na isang pantalon sinusuot ng apat na iba’t ibang personalidad na kababaihan at sa pagsuot nila nito e may nadidiskubre sila sa sarili nila eklavu. siyempre hindi positive lahat, dahil mukhang yan ang thrust ng YAL lately na napapansin ko, na bridge siya sa pagpapaintindi sa mga hindi na gaanong bata sa mga isyu ng mundo na kinakaharap ng mga matatanda at paghahanda ito sa kanila bilang malapit nang maging matanda. something like that. like two of the characters dealt with issues of death here, yung isa, si punk rocker filmmaker nagpapaka-goth outcast e nakakilala ng isang feeling close na bata na may leukemia pala, na nadeds. tapos yung blondinang soccer player na promiscuous e namatayan ng ina. tapos yung dalawa, dilemma ng pamilya at/o pag-ibig, tulad ng karakter ni america ferrer ba yun, herrera something, basta yung si UGLY BETTY, na may race issue dahil puerto rican siya at puti tatay niya na biglang nagkaroon ng ibang pamilyang sobrang WAC ang dating. tapos yung isa e greek naman at napaibig sa isang kaaway ng pamilya niya sa greece a la romeo and juliet na plot pattern.

so mga complex na pinagdaraanan o pagdaraanan ng mga teenager ang kinaharap nila. maganda naman nga ang paglalahad. epektibo siya bilang pelikula rin kasi nakita ko ang ganda ng greece. ang sarap talagang bisitahin ang lugar na iyon. i swear isang araw, i will be there and worship at the palace of my goddess athena hehe.

medyo naging interesante ako sa libro nang napanood ko ito. makes me want to see how the narrative unfolded through the pages. sige basahin ko.


Posted in adventure film, book to film, children-young adult content, Hollywood dream factory on September 9, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at


c. emma roberts

in grade school, my main tambayan was the library because one thing that our catholic coed school had going for it was the extensive diversity of reading materials in that library. and the geek in me was enticed. from the grade 1-3 small ladybug series stories with pictures to the complete collections of what will be known as young adult literature, that library really rocked. so from grade 4-5, i when i finished the whole Bobbsey Twins series (the purple ones), i skipped the blue-colored section of The Hardy Boys (because adventures led by boys didn’t appeal to me early on — hmmm, my earlier dyke was already coming out na pala! haha) and went on to the yellow-colored section of the Nancy Drew series (because i preferred stories with headstrong girls who rocked — my early feminist persona surfacing!). and yes, like the geek i was/am, i finished them all by the time i graduated from elementary school. meron pa kong nancy drew activity book noon na may mystery solving clues chenelyn. nahilig din kasi ako sa mga detective mystery chenes na yan when i was in grade school-pahaiskul pa lang. i even had a detective kit complete with fingerprint chenes, as in pre-csi talaga. and i knew what forensics meant na in freshman high school. also got hooked on those choose your own adventure type books in high school to complete that mystery adventure track of my teens. o di ba la talagang ukilkilin ang past ko hane? hehe.

flashforward to now. i don’t know if the makers of this movie actually read the books but i don’t know why the whole nancy drew set-up was dumbed down for this new generation, unless ganito na ang newer series characterization ni nancy na binebenta ngayon, unlike the original mysteries (at least the first 30 novels or so before). as in, super dumb ever na siya! ganun na ba ka-dumb ang generation talaga ngayon that they had to do this? kasi kahit young adult fare ito, generally 12-19 years old ang bracket, e dapat matino pa rin ang paglalahad ng kwento at ng nilalaman nito. okay, yun meron ito, but hollywoodized version nga lang. interesting yung story na may old hollywood star na namatay na may mystery pala sa bahay niya ek. okay yun puwede na, kahit parang hindi multi-layered ang mystery unlike sa books na talagang mapapaisip ka. ayaw na yata nilang paisipin ang younger generation na ito a. hmp, kaya nasasanay at natatamad e…

pero what i can’t accept is the characterizations of the leads, lalo na si nancy. hello para siyang sinapian ni lindsay lohan at hillary duff pero naka-period costume. what gives? labo. hindi naman ganyan ka-perky perky si nancy. smart at witty siya pero hindi ganyan! hindi siya kumakain ng perkyperky cereal sa umaga! not to mention the distracting sound score na peppered by “soundtrackable songs” na obviously plucked from top 20 radio playlists and anthologized into the ost for more! it’s just irritatingly distracting. ipod fare scoring sucks (as in, the songs will end up as ipod playlists of the young peeps).

and well, i don’t know why they didn’t just stick with the original gang at si ned lang ang nariyan dahil sa syempre, heterosexist ang earth kaya kelangan may male love angle ang girl. chaka. walang silbi si ned dito kundi i-drive yung blue roadster ni nancy! kakatawa. pero likes na likes ko ang caru na ito ha! i want one!!! na-miss ko rin yung sina george and bess and all, da orig barkada in sleuthing. george being a girl, ha, kung di niyo nabasa yung novels. feeling ko tibam yun e hahahah ipinipilit lang i-love team dun sa isang boylet. pero ang characterization niya talaga e sinasabing tomboyish siya. konting taon na lang e mag-a-out na yun dapat e hehehehehe. ayuz. i heart george. relate ako sa kanya ever.

my co-fellows and i were talking about this nga sa barlaya workshop the last day. siyempre bilang young adult literature writers, labs namin nancy drew. kaya dismayado kami lahat sa resulta ng pelikula. hay…

hm, talaga lang ha. di talaga nag-appeal ang hardy boys sa akin, kahit may tv series siya noon dito na sikat. hm.

oh well.


Posted in children-young adult content, Cinemalaya, digital film, indie films, Philippine Cinema on August 9, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at


D. sockie fernandez

Pitch: a summer in the lives of two grade 5 boys somewhere in the philippines, sometime in the philippines…

Catch: gary v = god mode

and so it shall be. kapag na-cast si gary v sa isang film, hindi na nalalayo ang good values and right conduct and sound morals diyan…at ayan na nga silang lahat, tuhog-tuhog na nakadikit sa buhay ng mga naglalayag na magpinsang grade 5 dito. minsan nasasakal sila nito. minsan ginagamit nila pang-jumprope. minsan ginagawang panungkit. pero mas madalas, ginagawang baging palabas sa kumunoy ng kasalanan.

o ha!

bakit ko ba inuulit-ulit ang grade 5? kasi from the way it was written by the kind old lady who spoke at the screening, it sounded like the kids were already in 3rd year high school. and that makes four years of difference, big gap difference to boot, ha. iba ang lengguwahe ng grade school sa high school, kahit naturingan pang mga child genius o prodigy sila (na sa film na ito, hindi naman. mabait lang talaga sila ng sobra). yan minsan ang trapping sa pagsusulat tungkol sa mga bata. nau-underestimate natin sila madalas. o kaya mali lang talaga ang characterization. like that pinsan na sub-lead, he keeps on dreaming about these “chikas sa fishpond na bakat na bakat ang basang damit pag-ahon!” iw as like eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww! batang manyak ba ito!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hindi siya kyut!!!!!!! mali mali mali ang characterization. homaygad. tuwing gagawin niya ito — at pinapanaginipan pa niya! — e parang gusto kong himatayin. jusme, e napaka-HIRAYAMANAWARI pa naman ng approach nila sa materyal (as in, teach good values to children everywhere mode) tapos may manyak mode siya!!!! wah!!!

ang saving grace lang ng film ay yung fact na it was shot like a tv commercial — pulido sa shots, sa framing, sa pacing, sa timpla ng kulay, sa pagka-masinop sa production design — men puwede nang ilatag sa kliyente ito! that’s because the director has been a long-time adperson. that paid off well. now only if she could do something about the story… hay…

saka lutang ang kuwento to begin with. obvious na detached sa living realities ng pilipino ang mga nagsulat. like there was this one obstacle (na soooo obvious naman para mapahaba ang act2 hay) na nilagay dun para mabasawan ang perang iniipon ng kids to buy a neighbor’s bicycle. may meralco dude na naniningil dahil ididiskonekta na sila at may overdue bill na unpaid. bilis bilis bilis tanong mo kung magkano yung overdue ng kuryente bilis bilis bilis. tantananaaaaan — tumataginting na 97 pesos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! poonyetah! baka water bill yan at hindi meralco, sasabihin niyo. but no. may cameo ng isang meralco guy complete with white and orange uniform ati. at nalurkey akeshhhhhhhh sa baba ng kuryente nilaaaaa! saang lugar ba yan sa pinas at dyan na ko titira ever, sa mura ng kuryenteeeee! a lesson in public utilities: ang usual water bill ay hindi bababa sa 25 pesos (kung hindi ka naglalaba at hindi ka madalas maligo) at aabot lang sa 500 pesos usually kada buwan if your household houses a family of more than 5 members with school-age children at naglalaba ang nanay ng mga damit sa bahay at nagluluto at hindi nagte-take-out at si papa o fafa ay mahilig mag-carwash sa garahe. intiendes? at ang kuryente, kung hindi ka mahilig magbukas n ilaw at manood ng tv at bintilador lang ang appliance mong sosyal e hindi bababa yan ng 300 sa dami ng punyetang tax at anupamang chenes ang nakalista sa electric bill natin ngayon. intiendes?

hay. **puso koh**

kalurkey. nabaliw ako dun.

hay. ms sockie, gawa ka na lang ulit ng short film. mas maganda atak mo sa shortie e. or find new material na mas grounded.

kalurkey ever.


Posted in children-young adult content, Cine Chichirya sa DZUP1602, Cinemalaya, digital film, indie films, Philippine Cinema on August 5, 2007 by leaflens


originally posted at

o siya, here we go with the cine chichiryahan. open up your snacks.

paano ba? ah, in order of appearance na lang sa cine adarna showings…

d. auraeus solito

pitch: a four-year sweep of high school life in the famed phil. science high school takes a look at a group of students’ developments as students and as citizens of marcos-era manila

catch: loves mo to kung pisay grad ka. if not…

the same guy who directed ufo pictures’ (to their dismay) cinemalaya 2005’s ANG PAGDADALAGA NI MAXIMO OLIVEROS is back with another teen-featured feature. siya ba ang sulat? oo yata e. laos naman itong cinemalaya website hindi updated. heniwey…

four stages, meaning from freshman year to senior year, may nafo-focus na karakter. pero they circulate within the same vicinity of their social sphere. okay naman siya except that di ko talaga keri ang camerawork sa pelikulang ito, lalo na yung mga arc movements dun sa isang shot na nag-uusap ang teacher at student hay…

saka halatang teatro ang tumitira. from the way it was staged to the blocking of the actors and camera movement down to the acting minsan, lalo na nung bio teacher dude character na secretly teatro ang love. that guy’s always a ham. artista siya ng students ko sa thesis nila and i said the same thing. bigyan nga ng isang kilong hamon yang guy na yan… buti na lang at ang ka-sparring niya ay ang lovely theater lady na na-miss naming lahat, si wena basco. grabe para siyang di nag-age. last ko siyang napanood sa isang romeo and juliet retake na may japanese characters chenes. man, ang tagal na nun a. hay… the good ol’ days…

pero back to this one. tama, kung di ka taga-pisay, di mo mae-enjoy ito kasi it was obvious aureus did this for fellow pisay peeps. hindi niya nai-translate into universal issues ang nangyayari doon sa loob ng school, not enough to make the other audience want to care. not to mention ang mainstream pa ng approach niya sa materyal. parang star cinema presents ang dating. super…

so did it work for me or not. not really. for the reasons i cited above. may potential siya actually. masyado lang kasing theatrical ang treatment na madalas parang ang feeling i’m watching a filmed stage performance instead of a film staging filmic performances. basta. saka mahirap panoorin ang mga pelikulang mina-mantra-han sa shoot ng “dapat manalo ito ng award” hahahaha labo.


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


originally posted at


or subtitled “hindi happy si harry huhuhuhuhu…”

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

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

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

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

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

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