Archive for the Uncategorized Category

woman of platinum

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2013 by leaflens

Kung si Clark Kent ay lalaking bakal, ako naman yata ay naging babaeng platinum — platinum blondina ang hairlalu dahil mej tumbling lola mo habang pinapanood ang pelikulang itey at namuti ang strands kesh. Read na lang then weep if you want. I laughed to keep myself from weeping. Or actually I tweeted, as usual. Kaya hanapin niyo na lang ang mini-reviews ko via the hashtag I use – #filmmiron – if you’re on Twitter.

Heniweys hemingweys…

MAN OF STEEL (2013)

man-of-steel-posterd. Zach Snyder

p. Christopher Nolan and some dudes

c. Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and many others

Pitch: Yet another retelling of the Superman mythology but this time, in a kinda bleach bypassed type of look you do in celluloid film if you want the bleak-type look then pepper it with many homages to other films we already saw with storylines already done before… oh wait that’s the catch pala suri pu.

Catch: See above. Plus that darn five o-clock shadow. And those curly curlies sa dibdib. Wall to wall carpet lang ang peg ni Clark Kent pare. Yaya, pahiramin nga ‘yan ng razor, ‘yung Gillette para close shave.

Nakakatamad i-review ito ng bongz. basahin niyo na lang kaya ang Twitter feed ko while I was watching it?

When I tweet while watching a film, it’s a sure sign na the film doesn’t work for me.

filmmiron02filmmiron01

But what the hey. I wanted to go back to reviewing films again in this space so I decided to start with this one. And this one talaga kasi I like comic book films. Like other geeks out there who grew up with the superheroes mythology of American pop culture, the superdude is a big deal. And whosoever touches this material should better have a good reason for making us suspend our disbelief that Christopher Reeve will no longer play Superman anymore, for good, forever.

Yeah sure, you’ll say that we’re just a bunch of old fogeys and geezers and tandercats for harping on how we miss Chris Reeve as Superman. But he really embodied the quintessential all-American pretending-to-be-bungling-pero-cute-pa-rin hero who could save the world and sacrifice his superpowers for the love of Lois Lane. So many reincarnations have already happened. Who could also forget Lois and Clark ba ‘yun, the TV series kung saan sumikat si Dean Cain. Not really so keen on that one myself. My favorite still remains the reworking of the story arc of Superman as a teenager in Smallville. Okay, so it’s full of homoerotic tension between Clark and Lex Luthor, fine. Biased ako. And oo kras na kras ko so Kristine Kreuk who played the kick ass Lana Lang. Oo na biased ako fine. But the story is what got me. Talagang hinimay nila kung bakit-paano-saan-kailan naging superhero si Clark, journey kung journey pare. Plus the fact na creative sila sa paggawa ng weekly kalaban who always turned out to be some ordinary person affected by the green rock meteor shower a.k.a. kryptonite. Saya lang teh. Kahit ‘yung evolution ng kulay ng damit, from small hirits like “Blue looks good on you” and all that. Brilliant writing, that show.

Now as to this film, hmmm… where do I begin pare. First off, it was shot like a pa-art-eh indie film that sometimes, you like it for those portions but if you stitch it up together with the big-budget CGI SFX bang-a-rangs, wala na, misplaced. And that’s what makes this film uneven. Some moments it was trying to be story-felt indie, some moments it was trying to outdo Transformers in all things effects — editing, computer graphics, visuals, even sound! Ano sinabi ng nagkakalansingang bakal to bakal mode ni Michael Bay pare! Eh taong bakal nga ito eh, nubeh talo kayo dyan teh. Yun na. So needless to say, pagkalabas ko ng sine, kelangan kong magtaktak ng tenga to check if I still have inner ear balance. Okay meron pa naman, thankz godz. Release the kraken!!! Or the world engine pala, sabi ni Zod. Whatevs.

Well in fairness type ko ang reworking ng costume. Ditch the red brief over the blue pants this time, eh? The superdude has finally gone commando. But with all the action he got in this film, I hope he's wearing some kind of super-supporter inside pare. Or else, super-wawa ang super-yagbadoodledandies niya noh.

Well in fairness type ko ang reworking ng costume. Ditch the red brief over the blue pants this time, eh? The superdude has finally gone commando. But with all the action he got in this film, I hope he’s wearing some kind of super-supporter inside pare. Or else, super-wawa ang super-yagbadoodledandies niya noh.

I won’t comment on the seemingly miscast people here, from Jor-el to Kal-el to Lois Lane to Jonathan Kent. Si Diane Lane lang yata ang tumpak na embodiment ni Martha Kent pare. The rest, ewan ko, go find other films to star in na lang, pwede? As for the story, I don’t know if it was a good thing that the makers just lazily banked on the stock knowledge of the audience of a man in a red and blue suit from Krypton who could fly and save earthlings. So they took the liberty of amp-ing up the usual approach of how Clark as a boy and teen felt misplaced with some kind of unexplainable multi-sensory neuroses which, of course, we all knew na development of Kryptonian superpowers itey. But poor tormented bullied Clark. Just because his all-American farmer dad didn’t want him to expose himself to the world, binata superdude still just kept his anger management in tow even if he was being bullied na as an adult. Yeahhhhh I think the film was subtly about anti-bullying, n’est-ce pas? Pero creative ‘yung tiis-the-bullying eklavu dahil may payoff palang character bubog ‘yun — na dahil ayaw ni padir na may-I-show-off si Clark ng superpowers, nadeds si padir at guilt trip galore si junakis dahil wala siyang ginawa to save his daddy-o. K. Sige. More neuroses. I think the writers want this psychologically-driven Superman to become regular screening fare sa mga psychiatric conventions, methinks. But that’s just me pare.

Pero ang hindi creative ay an incessant need to have plot dump after plot dump of stuff to use as exposition, then the expository dialogue after expository dialogue technique of revealing info that looked and sounded so trite kaya naho-hohum ka na lang at naghahanap ng kakapitan ng audiovisual senses mo para itawid ang kuwentong ito. Ganun. Na meron naman, panaka-naka. Pero minsan, obvious kaya nakaka-hagikhik din. Like sume-semiotics lang ang meaning ng “messianic complex” discourse sa simbahan shots where Clark was discussing things with some priest at backdrop niya ang stained glass image ni Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane thing. O siyah! Pagbigyan.

I guess in a way, people like this approach because it’s a far cry from your usual comic book film fare nga. Oh well papel, kanya-kanyang chever na lang. I just wish that they could brainstorm this film better. Watching it, I kinda see like a minimum of 10 homages to old films we’ve all seen before. Hindi creative ang mish-mash of stuff. Like sa umpisa pa lang, when I saw the babies in the pod thangs, yoiks Ghost In The Shell-slash-The Matrix isdatchu??? Now ko lang narinig ang “first natural birth in centuries” storyline sa mythology na ito. Then the overtaking of earth, hohum, nagawa na ‘yan sa Transformers Dark Side of the Moon teh. Then the overall look and feel of Krypton, parang mash-up siya ng Star Wars meets Aliens meets Avatar in black. Don’t get me started when Lois Lane made like Ripley there at one point man. Sigourney Weaver did you see that???

Wala, masyadong maraming talun-talon and narrative loopholes ang pelikula kaya kailangan pa siyang i-tighten. Yah, as tight sana as superdude’s new jazzed up tights. Ewan, kahit ‘yun nga, di in-explain. “What does that S mean?” “In my planet, it means hope.” “In this planet, it’s an S.” HOMAYGAD KILLMENOW!!! Pwede bang mag-apply as script dialogue doctor teh??????? Hashtag laslas.

Ok sige sa susundo na lang. Intayin natin ang iba pang comic book films. Baka mas masaya pa ‘yun. K?

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if the kids are all right, then houston we have a problem

Posted in Hollywood dream factory, Oscars, queer cinema, Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 by leaflens

Or in short, here’s my elaboration on my disbelief about why why why whyyyyyyyy this film is thought to be great! AND AND AND if you haven’t seen this, don’t read this because I’m giving spoilers. Boo hoo you.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

d. Lisa Cholodenko

s. Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg

c. Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and the two kids with cool character names (Joni and Laser – and dykes name their kids in a cool way huh hmmm)

Pitch: Longtime lesbian partners (alpha female-ish — yes, there’s one in any lesbian partnership) Nic and (artsy kinda insecure-ish — yes, there’s one in any lesbian partnership) Jules experiences a rocky ride in their relationships when their birthed kids find and connect with their sperm donor of a dude who then ends up disturbing the “alternative” family’s equilibrium shitz.

Catch: A lesbian is unsatisfied with her relationship and begins to have sex with a heterosexual man, just because. I.Rest.My.Fucking.Case.

*

Once upon a time in a magical writerly place called Dumaguete located in the south of the Philippines, a poet once told me while conversing, “Uh-oh, here comes Libay…” in reference to what others in our literary community have seen me as “the angry feminist so don’t dis lesbianism in front of her or you’ll never hear the end of it”  when he uttered something not-so-nice-to-hear about something we were talking about which irked my lezfem writerly self blah that time.

You know what? I only get tense about lesbianism when there seems to be something derogatory attached to it. So yes, with the state of the patriarchal world then, and now, I am still angry.

Especially about this film. And it doesn’t matter that the filmmaker made a positive dent in the queer cinema movement before. (Insert dramatic irony here — duh, yes it matters! She’s one of us haller!!!) Well, people reinvent themselves all the time, so fine, sige. Yes, Cholodenko directed that dykey film HIGH ART. Just google or imdb it.

But we’re not talking about that dark, depressing but still a good dyke depiction-film. We’re talking about this one where the story focused on a very homonormative family in a very cool and seemingly contented homonormative set-up (meaning that population of the queer community which also strives to parallel the heteronormativity we see in society — oh you know, the whole get-married-with-one-life-partner-and-live-in-a-house-with-a-picket-fence-and-raise-kids-while-having-fabulous-careers thingies). Nothing wrong with our fellow queers who want to achieve this homonormative set-up, hey. To each their own. If this works for you, this works for you. And for me, too, meaning I could be happy for you but don’t pull me in to live that way because I’m through with all kinds of hetero/homo-normativity or any kind of that kind of normativity in general for that matter. But that’s another blog post.

What doesn’t work for me is when people outside the queer community are given tools to dissect us queers with tools we ourselves created. And this is what irks me the most with this film. Sure, Cholodenko said some parts are loosely based on her life, but which parts? The part where she also got a sperm donor and got pregnant and had a child? Yey that’s great, good for her. But why throw in a heterosexual-based tool that has been used over and over and over and over and time and time and time again to bash us queers in the fucking head????? And what am I talking about? The disgruntled artsy insecure-ish one of the lezzies — Jules or Julianne Moore’s character which is by the way the femme-ier looking of the two so is perceived as “more girly” by the outside world (meaning yay she can still be “saved” and get turned back to the more enlightened way of heterosexuality because she doesn’t look totally like a dyke naman e) — releases her frustrations with her relationship with the alpha female-ish kinda butchy-looking partner of hers by “accidentally” smooching with a heterosexual man. And not just any garden-variety heterosexual man (but okay, she was literally working on his garden actually as his landscape architect so hmmm film semiotics symbolical pun intended there? Peut-etre.) but the sperm donor whose genes run inside their kids. And the smooching began when she said “You look like my kids in that angle” or something shitty like that. Um, so if I see someone resembling the genes of Angelina Jolie in someone inside a jeep, can I freely smooch her then? I’m just sayinnnnnnnnnnn’…

See how ridiculous that start of a premise was?  Sorry but I just reread Audre Lorde’s essay about how we can never dismantle the master’s house by using the master’s tools. The thing is, the heterosexual masters here just bashed us again in the head because the filmmakers gave them heteros the tool to bash us with. I thought we were all about emancipation, folks? What gives???

So okay, given that Jules had a momentary thingie with a hetero man, maybe we have to overlook it because it was momentarily, plus in the film, she repeatedly says that she’s gay, she’s gay, it can’t happen (the dude fell in love with her and wants her to go with him — yay another tool! Bash! Bash!) so clearly she’s not bisexual (and there’s no actual reference whether she has been with guys before though, so weird characterization too — dramaturgical tools fail! Which the women at afterellen had fun dissecting hehe.), and she sincerely wants to fix up her booboo with her family. But then again, the momentary thingie actually escalated because they had sex several times and they both obviously loved it (and it started weird because she obviously was depicted as sooo hungry for dick that when she finally zipped the dude’s fly open, she had that strange and ridiculous “welcome gasp and utterance” blah — frak! Sucks!). So was it a sex thing? Meaning if a lesbian is dissatisfied with her partner in bed, she will then run to or turn to… a man!!! Like a “real man” with a dick! (Fucking a woman with a strap-on is not an option here! Woooo! Where are the other lesbians in their community then???? None were shown! They are alone! Wooo!) Nothing wrong with choosing a sex partner or queerily blurring the gender/sexual orientation/hetero-homo desire divides–by choice!–as long as you set it up properly in the story but the parameters of choosing (read: jumping?) a sex partner here was so off here that I was just enraged. Why? Hay, need I elaborate? In a world where lesbianism is still regarded as a phase which girls would outgrow once they have had a real man (read: sucked a dick or was fucked by a dick or worse — they just need to get raped to snap out of it, hey, nothing to it), then story set-ups like this one proves to be very problematic as it reinforces several problematic discourses that we have been trying to counter over the freaking decades. Hay naku… Emancipation, where art thou???

*laslas*

More bashing tools? Okay, how about that bit when the kids suddenly resented their parents — the butchy one in particular — because, as the kid said “The lesbian family set-up was destroyed/not working for you!” or something to that effect. Oh.My.Fucking.God. If a child is raised and reared in a very loving and caring lesbian family like theirs, how come she will all of a sudden treat herself as an outsider of that happy family set-up just because she was happily-rebelliously bonding with the sperm donor dude. Was she looking for a “father figure” then? Or was she looking for a “mother-father” family set-up then? In this fucking film, yes, the kids were somewhat depicted as such although it wasn’t verbally articulated. But film is a visual medium, and that tool was set up very well — the kids’ homophobias against their own lesbian parents were clearly felt and seen, two things that cinema does well than spoken words. *bash!* *bash!* Even if one argues that that reaction was just “typical” of any teenage kids against any parent, no way, Jose. This set-up is different AND WE ALL KNOW IT. Now why didn’t Cholodenko?

So this is why I think this film is so problematic in terms of setting up its scenes. Sure, these things might happen in real life — and some of it actually do happen/did happen to lesbians/queer women out there — but legitimizing homophobia and promoting it in this way, in this day and age, just purely sucks.

And then the film ends with the dude saying sorry sorry sorry so boohoo we should feel for him because he wants redemption after fucking the dyke, encouraging “his kids” to be a bit rebellious and going to their house to say sorry? Boo! And then when things are slowly settling down, one of the kids say to the lez parents “I don’t think you should split up. Because you’re both too old.” Parents look at each other, hold hands, and drive off. Roll credits. Yehey. So lesbians should stick together because they’re too old to score a new partner out there? Again, maybe it’s because there are no other dykes in this community where this family lives!!! Anubeh!!!!!!!!!!

Kill me now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winner ang premises ng film na ito! *laslas*

Haaaaay…

O siya ayoko na. High blood na ako. The thing to do is hope that this film doesn’t win any Academy Award come Oscar night. Because frankly speaking, Hollywood would then be legitimizing homophobia again when they do that. I hope that doesn’t happen.

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