Archive for the film remakes Category

can I get caught between the moon and New York City instead?

Posted in film remakes, Hollywood dream factory on April 26, 2011 by leaflens

But no, I had to watch a remake of a film made 30 years ago, back when I was 8. Eight! Like eight years old eight, you know. I mean, if people need to age and grow, so do movies. Especially remakes.

Jeezus where do I begin?

ARTHUR (2011)

s. from the 1981 film-story by Steve Gordon

c. Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner and that Greta cutey girl

Pitch: Rich brat and drunkard British dude living in New York City gets conflicted when threatened with disinheritance if he doesn’t marry an alpha female businesswoman in the wake of waking up to the real world because of falling in love with an “ordinary woman” chorva.

Catch: Who died and appointed this Brand guy as funny? He should die again.

If you’re going to update a film, Hollywood, please update it in style. The 1981 version of ARTHUR starred actors with class. Hello Dudley Moore as Arthur? Sir John Gielgud as Hobson the “nanny” (or maybe man-ny in this case) and the, the Liza Minelli as the love interest. Yes, life was a cabaret in that film, man. And hands down, Dudley Moore is funny! Like one-liners galore funny, in the same thread and tradition of how Robin Williams is just a walking one-liner funny guy. Hm, when did comedy go out of style?

Oh yes, maybe this month. Like 2011.

Dudley Moore was better in playing a drunkard, a spoiled rich playboy, and a British dude.

Fine, granted that this remake has the Helen Mirren in it and a useless Jennifer Garner who could actually be better given a better role. But casting doesn’t seem to be the major problem of this film; it’s the story — the very outdated one.

Sure, I know there are still rich billionaires loitering around the world, specifically New York and oh let’s include Manila as well, who live off of their family’s riches by being playboys, buying expensive things, living the nightlife and loving no one in particular. But there has to be some kind of logic to it (or at least something deeper, more dramatic a premise) if these playboys will get disinherited. Merely saying that they cannot live the high life without the money doesn’t cut it anymore. There should be another motivation that will raise the stakes for such a storyline to take off. Oh I don’t know, like maybe let them discover that they are gay, for instance? Now that’s another story, di ba? Or give them more realistic conflicts like fathering dozens of children? Or they have to take over the family business against their wishes? I don’t know; I’m just pitching ideas here. But you get the drift — fluff up the conflicts!

And let’s face it; if these uber-rich bachelors of today are indeed bachelors of today, then they will also be into the latest technological gadgets like computers, video games (!!!) and other luxurious eccentricities, not merely collecting movie cars like the Batmobile or the time-traveling Delorean (which I’d like to actually own myself but I digress). But the playboy bachelor in this remake didn’t even know how to use a computer. Dude, they teach that in grade school and high school, right? And yes, we’re in 2011, folks. By now, I would have figured that he has wifi-powered his high-tech pad with 24/7 porn or something. You know, rich dude eccentricities. But no, all he has is a magnetic floating bed (which is cool BTW in fairness, I want this at home!) and a rotating lighted replica of the solar system (okay I want this at home, too!) on his ceiling. No computers. No technological extravagance like a huge plasma TV connected to some latest state-of-the-art gaming console. But he has a mini-movie theater inside his pad. And it’s grossly decorated with gold plants and stuff. Oh man, a disaster of production design that didn’t know how to characterize a character as well. That, or the art dept/director/writer are so hung up on nostalgia that they forgot to develop this film to fit the 21st century.

So what we get in this film remake is a flimsy excuse to show New York City scenery at its finest. If only for that, I prevented myself from dozing off from watching ridiculous plotline after ridiculous plotline. In my mind, I was like “Oooh hey I walked down that block/area (near Grand Central/Empire State bldg.) last year!” or “Oooh wow I was inside that building (MoMA) last year!” Yeah I re-lived my own NY nostalgia with this film, a good survival tactic for badly scripted movies.

with my friend A as we got caught between people and cars on the way to Times Square / March 2010 photo by x

So what’s essentially bad with the plotlines? The fact that it reeks of uncalled for patriarchal cliches, that’s what. With lines like “She will take care of you, Arthur” or something to that effect, it’s like the women in this film are born to take care and/or serve this prick lang. Bleh. This film had actually a lot of good potential to explore such heterosexual interplays in this day and age but sadly, it had to fall back to tired devices that don’t really excite story consumers anymore. Yeah in short, I don’t buy it!

I admire and find believable the original plot since the Arthur character had a father who was trying to disinherit him and he had a butler for a sidekick much like Bruce Wayne had Alfred. All patriarchal systems in check, and highly justified for the story it was trying to tell. Plus there’s a matriarch figure in the British family, and that’s a given because hey, they’re British? Hm. But remake that into the Arthur 2.0 with not a father but an alpha female mother figure who doesn’t exchange warm hugs but warm handshakes with her son (who has a change of heart towards the end, an uncalled for one), and then replace the butler sidekick with an aging British nanny (update this; even Prince William had a Filipino nanny. Just saying.), and you get an emasculated playboy who isn’t truly cute and lovable at all, but who actually acts like an idiot lang. Unlike the original Arthur who answers, when asked what is his job, he comically answers “I play tennis” and other lewd things you’d expect from such a character, the Arthur 2.0 just doesn’t do anything or give witty retorts. And he’s just characterized as an overgrown kid. Not bad if it’s created and played well but it falls flat here, and he just acts like an idiot lang. For instance, when given a job in a candy store, he can’t even focus when being given directions but wants to badly wear the candy mascot costume and thinks that’s the coolest job ever.  Geez, 21st century idiot at its finest. Truly unbelievable a character.

Of course he gets thrust pa with a love life dilemma of being between an alpha female in an arranged marriage (I mean come on! Who marries for business deals these days? If you’re using this plotline, please refer to the brilliantly written film SABRINA for pointers, both the original and the remake!) and a plain Jane of a girl who actually rides subways and eats pretzels in New York. Geez.

And if my blog post title is lost on you young ‘uns, it’s a reference to the nice theme song of the original movie sung by Christopher Cross, entitled “Arthur’s Theme.” Listen here. I miss songs like that; romantic in nature but not kill-me-sappy, unlike pop songs of today. Plus there are great lines pa. Yes, they had me at getting caught between the moon (an image I adore and respect) and New York City (a place I miss right now). Sankapa! But okay, they play a rocked up done-for-the-OST version of this song at the end. It still doesn’t cut it.

Hmp o siya that’s about it. Will just wait for better films next time. And better remakes.

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HAIRSPRAY

Posted in film remakes, movie musical on September 15, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com

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HAIRSPRAY
c. john travolta, nikki blonsky, michelle pfeiffer, queen latifah, christopher walken and that dude in high school musical and the guy from xmen

masaya ito! this is based on the late ’80s john waters film of the same title, starring ricki lake. and i know those details because i grew up watching ang loving john waters’ films. sobrang campy pero happy. kaya nung lumabas ito noon, aliw ako! tapos naging broadway musical siya nung early 2000s yata, tapos happy rin yung songs, favorite ko yung “momma i’m a big girl now.” tapos eto, naging movie musical na siya, kaya three times na ang happy. happy!

ang sarap sumayaw. mahilig kasi ako sa mga pelikulang may sayawan na ganito, tapos mahilig din ako sa mga vintage nostalgia americana chenes na ganito, mga 50s-60s type ba. ewan ko ba feeling ko my past life was there during that time. iyan lang yata ang aspect ng american culture na gusto ko ng sobra kasi magaganda ang designs. classic vintage, colors, the graphics. ewan ko ba, type ko tignan yung mga ganyan e. kaya trip na trip ko ang mga diner set-up na restos kasi ganyan ang interior design, like our uber-hangout before na sam’s diner, sometimes dean st. cafe and now butter diner. hay…

tapos maganda yung pagkakagawa ng choreo na nag-swak sa pelikula. kaya pala ganito kasi nung nag-flash yung credit sabi e yung direktor ang gumawa rin ng choreo. na mabuti naman kesa sa yung direktor e walang ideya sa choreo tapos ifi-film lang yung mga nagkakantahan at nagsasayawan. ang chachaka nung ganun. pero eto, galeng kasi interwoven ang dance and songs sa language and grammar of film. hanep! bet ko sya!

saka cool yung kuwento kasi nito. integration of races in a racially divided america noon. plus self-image din ng teen girls. saka showbiz, or the business of entertainment. daming issues pero hindi heavyhanded ang treatment, true to the feel of the original film. kaya lang mas masaya yung noon kasi mas emphasized yung hairspray element. as in lagi talaga silang nag-ii-spray ng hairspray. na nakakatawa at nakaka-relate ako/kami noon kasi ito yung panahon na talaga namang nagtataasan din ang mga bangs at buhok ng mga babae kakagamit ng aquanet hahaha! tangina nabutas lalo ang ozone nung panahun na yun! the cobra hairdo! walangya. hahaha funny.

kaya lang medyo na-off ako sa audience nito. kasi the makers did a helluva pr job about john travolta playing the role of the obese mom. pero nung may mga tender moments sila ni christopher walken, some people just voiced their homophobic rants na naman seeing nga na dalawang lalaki talaga yang nasa screen. nakakainis! i guess the suspension of disbelief was not big on them. or talagang homophobic ang mga taong matuturingan. or both.

nonetheless, di ko na pinansin yun masyado. or at least i tried. basta i focused on enjoying the film and that’s it. kaya panoorin niyo na siya sa big screen kasi mas masaya kesa sa dvd, sensurround and all.

THE INVASION

Posted in book to film, drama film, film remakes, Hollywood dream factory, sci-fi film, suspense-thriller film on September 9, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com

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THE INVASION
c. nicole kidman, daniel craig

based on the ’50s sci-fi novel Invasion of The Body Snatchers, i watched this one because the trailer seemed promising and the storyline also had that old movie appeal, but with a modern touch. maybe that’s because the concept of this body snatchers thing interests me a lot, ever since i saw the original b/w INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS in my film genres elective class eons ago. i particularly liked that discussion about how hollywood used sci-fi genre flicks, usually B movies, to scare the hell out of stupid americans with communism as the big ghost. and that is the underlying project of this body snatchers film, that everyone loses their free will to think and be and they become a robotic homogenized entity that follows one program from above. that’s how americans saw communism as brainwashing. epektibo naman; natakot ang mga ‘merkano at ayan, cold war. the rest was history.

dami nang remakes and all ng konseptong ito sa pelikula, pero yung peas in a pod type ng original ang okay pa rin sa akin. kaya interesante sa akin itong bago kasi i want to see how they rework it, much like how most of stan lee’s superhero devices get reworked with modern technology (ie imbis na aksidente lang na naapektuhan si ordinary dude ng extraordinary thing kaya naging superhero, may scientific basis na yung ngayon). so this one involved the simplest and easiest to prove: dna alteration, spread via viral infection parang common cold. galeng noh. simple lang pero plausible, somewhat, sa day and age nating ito. it works for me.

hindi mabagal ang film pero hindi rin mabilis. tamang tama lang actually, saka nakakaintriga. well-acted naman except yung ending part ng doctor played by jeffrey wright ba yun, yung nasa angels in america na theater guy. madrama masyado akting niya nung iniinterbyu siya ng press. but i’m happy with nicole din. kahit ano naman yata gawin niya, keri lang. di lang maalis sa isip ko na bakit pag may ganitong brainwashing the madla film e siya ang bida, parang yung another sci-fi novel into film nth remake na rin ng STEPFORD WIVES a few years back. but hey, whatever works…

gusto ko rin yung tagline ng movie: “do not trust anyone. do not show emotion. do not fall asleep.” man, sounds like my motto in life! feeling nicole kidman akesh hehehe.

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