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Friday, August 31, 2007

Movie Digest # 022

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 5, August 26, 11:15pm

Usual, formula film. Funny, yeah. It has karate, yeah. It’s in Paris, yeah. I wish to see this film in a bus on my way to Quezon. Good point: the great film director Roman Polanski made a cameo as a French police inspector. So ironic.

Friends who might appreciate it: Jackie Chan fans.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 1, August 29, 8:15pm

Avoid this film. Predictable, not fresh, not edgy. Good point: Jason Abalos made a remarkable turn as an actor in the Cinemalaya film “Endo”. He is part of this film.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who got OT pay.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Claim to Fame

There --> Yabang Pinoy Advocates

What can I say? Mixed emotions. Hahaha.

Just a background: Yabang Pinoy sent an email before encouraging its listers to share an instance wherein you felt proud as Pinoy. The email mentioned that it will be published on Manila Bulletin and a photo with me wearing the Yabang Pinoy band was required. I bought the papers on the specified date but my entry wasn't in there. Ayun...

Movie Digest # 021

Glorietta 1, Cinema 1, August 22, 8:25pm

A horror film from the director of “Roomboy” and writer of “Ouija”, Aloy Adlawan. It seems like this genre is becoming an initiation for indie filmmakers who are trying to find a niche in mainstream cinema. I am not sure if I like this film. The direction is OK, storyline is OK, some images are creepy and strange and the acting is not bad (Luis Alandy, Ricky Davao, Irma Adlawan, Chx Alcala, etc.). On top of these, the twist is awesome and well executed (complete with “planting”, etc.). It could be the dialog, too old school and reminiscent of the 80’s. Production design is not consistent, too. Some scenes are exceptional but some, amateurish.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who can’t decide what film to watch.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 5, August 23, 6:50pm

No pun intended but the movie has no weight (yeah, it has a plump lead character as a metaphor to racial discrimination) as compared to other film adaptation of a stage musical (i.e. “Chicago”, “Dreamgirls”, etc.) but it surely is 100% entertaining. I like the songs (very radio-friendly), the choreography and the “feel”. The direction and editing do not disappoint either. Most of the scenes are cinematic in terms of scope. Performances from the cast are also cool and above average.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who want to have swell fun.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1, August 23, 11:15pm

This will definitely make it to the Razzies next year. “Evan Almighty” is one bad film that needs some spanking. I just cared to stay and wait for the plot’s resolution on “the flood”. It’s not worth it.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who haven’t seen a film for a long time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sorry Throat

Haaay, another day that tests my invincibility. I am not feeling well. I just want to rest at home and watch TV (complete with mom’s tender care and dad’s affection, aw).

I have sore throat. And it’s getting sorer. I already took the usual stuff from my survival kit: Amoxicilin and Solmux plus Bactidol gargle right before bedtime and gargle with iodized salt in the morning of the next day. I even tried the call center agents’ number one recommended lozenges, Orofar-L, but to no avail.

I don’t know what else is missing. Or the question could be "who?"....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Movie Digest # 020

Glorietta 4, Cinema 6, August 16, 8:00pm

My first good mainstream, non-indie, Star Cinematic Pinoy film for 2007. Reasons: 1) fresh ang diskarte; 2) well-acted including Angelica Panganiban who looks off at first for the “adult” character; 3) subtle ang pagkakadirek at editing, hindi masyadong given; 4) Maryo J. Delos Reyes indeed is maturing as a film director (from “Laman” then “Magnifico” and “Naglalayag”); and 5) the audience likes it.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who wish to watch a mainstream movie that is not so mainstream.

SM Mall of Asia, Cinema 1, August 20, 4:50pm

This is an action film, a good one, for non-fans of action films. Others may react to “hand-held effect” of the cinematography (also used in “Batman Begins”) but for me, it adds realism to the film. No matter how heroic Jason Bourne (we have the same birth date, hehehe) is, it doesn’t feel phony or “cinematic” at all. It must be the direction and the reliable acting from Joan Allen and Matt Damon.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who are gravely avoiding “A Love Story”.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Notes from a Filmfest

I really couldn’t get enough of this year’s Cinemalaya. It’s probably the best batch among the three installments. Here’s the fix, my recollection on competition and exhibition films in chronological order, all viewed a week or two ago:

TRIBU – this year’s Best Picture and Best Actor (ensemble). At first, I thought the film is just what it is: an ultra realistic storytelling of warring gangsters in Tondo. Mababaw sana s’ya except for the last two minutes of the film wherein a little boy is seen entering a room with a gun. The film opens with the line, “sa Tondo, bata ang bida” (pertaining to Sto. Nino or Infant Jesus). I suspect that the boy initiated the war just to get hold of the gun. Very “Ciudad de Dios”.

STILL LIFE – Malalim. One of those films that you have to wait for the ending to catch the twist. The only drawback, for me, is how the acting was directed in this film. Andaming inconsistencies sa mga character ng mga aktor dahil sa interpretation nila. Pwede itong ma-trap sa direction. More plus points: the film was shot mostly in an island somewhere in Guinayangan, Quezon. Na-appreciate ko lalo ang probinsya ko. Bonus na lang ang autograph ni Glaiza de Castro sa aking festival pass (na sinundan nina Alchris Galura, Joel Lamangan, Gil Portes, cast of “Pisay” and “Gulong”, Raymond Gutierrez, Iza Calzado, Michiko Yamamoto, Armando Lao, Auraeus Solito and Karylle).

KADIN – Very Iranian (film). I can’t say that this film will salvage Adolf Alix’s artistry as a director but the film is average to above average. Tamang tama ang build up at maganda ang resolution sa huli. It helps that the film was entirely shot in Batanes.

LIGAW LIHAM – Right after watching the film, my initial comments were “well made but dragging”. And Karylle can’t add pogi points to the film. Her character is more of an Iza Calzado’s. It’s just well made. Period.

BATAD: SA PAANG PALAY – Last year’s winner for Best Actor, Alchris Galura, carries the film very well. Napaka-animated n’ya, para s’yang tubig. Marami pang ibubuga itong batang ito. I now proclaim to be an Alchris Galura fan. Beyond that and Gina Alajar and Nonnie Buencamino’s acting, I feel that some of the film’s components are half-baked (including Gina and Nonie’s casting as Igorot parents). Kahit sa script, naghahanap ako ng authenticity, something that is purely Igorot. Pero konting research at retoke na lang siguro at ayos na ‘to.

GULONG – It’s a bit odd to see this film as a Cinemalaya film. Para akong nanonood ng Hiraya Manawari sa TV. In fairness, the film is very polished. Well made din s’ya. Siguro, ‘yung material lang talaga, medyo off. Hindi rin ako impressed sa script. I can’t forget this line as uttered by Miss Barbara Perez, “Manalo pa naman ang apelyido n’ya pero parati s’yang talo.”

SEROKS – I was warned by some peeps to avoid this film (including one of the lead actors Neil Ryan Sese). The film must be bad, I thought. Unfortunately, it turned out the other way around. I enjoyed the film. Maybe because I was fascinated with multiple characters and their parallel lives. The plus point is the film’s noir look. It’s very “In the Mood for Love” and “Chungking Express”. I was informed by Ching Danseco, a cousin of a cousin and the film’s art director, that they were drunk when they did the film.

HANGGANG DITO NA LAMANG AT MARAMING SALAMAT – Among the films in exhibition, this film is the one I was most interested about. First, I love the stage version. When I saw PETA’s version with Joel Lamangan and Richard Quan, I already considered a film adaptation of the material. Napakaraming one-liners dito. Script pa lang, meaty na. Too bad that the film didn’t meet my expectations. Who cares about snail mails nowadays? I am not sure if we can update the film’s genre. I was rooting for a period film, set to a quaint town when texting and internet were not born yet. The direction is not helping either. Sinahugan pa ng ilang hubaran upang bumenta sa ibang market. The only saving grace is Nonie Buencamino’s acting. The film, by the way, was funded and made by some folks from Quezon Province (including the late Orlando Nadres). I saw some familiar faces inside the theater. A weekend after, the film got a second screening due to its popularity.

PISAY – My first “kumpletos rekados” film for the year. Tamang tama ang sangkap mula script (very intelligent, no pun intended), direction, acting, cinematography, production design at iba pang aspetong panteknikal. Pang-Oscar Best Picture, kumbaga. If there’s one film that I could recommend to a non-fan of Pinoy films, this must be it. Bonus na lang ‘yung old school OST na bihirang bihira ko nang makita sa mga Pinoy films ngayon.

ENDO – It is this year’s version, in terms of impact, of my 2005 favorite “Sarong Banggi”. Sapol na sapol sa puso. May kirot at may haplos. Isa sa mga script na nagpapaisip sa akin na ‘wag nang magsulat dahil marami nang magagaling na manunulat. I love the metaphor between a short (work) contract and a relationship. Sana nare-renew, sana hindi. The other option is for the film to be preachy and spank the guys who can’t live without girlfriends but “Endo” chooses a path that is less traveled. Acting wise, Jason Abalos is a revelation and Ina Feleo, Laurice Guillen and Johnny Delgado’s daughter, is the next big thing in local film industry.

HAW-ANG – I personally like this film because it was entirely shot in Banaue, particularly in Hapaw Hungduan area. I went there last April and I can say that I’m biased with the film. Medyo kumakanto ang pelikula sa mga nausong “oppression” films n’ung araw, n’ung panahon ni Brocka hanggang sa mga attempt ni Lamangan. Pero may kakaibang alindog ‘yung film na wala sa mga naunang kamukhang obra. Siguro dahil sa cinematography n’ya o siguro, maganda lang talaga ‘yung movie. Aside from “Blackout” and most of the Cinemalaya films, “Haw-Ang” is definitely one of the best films for 2007.

SINUNGALING NA BUWAN – After watching this film, I’m starting to appreciate Ed Lejano’s works (hahaha). Again, I think it has something to do with multiple characters. May ilang part na too artsy pero OK lang sa akin. ‘Yung montage ng “Narito Ako”, jazz version, nagustuhan ko ‘yun. Pero I admit na mahirap panoorin ‘yung film at naiintindihan ko kung bakit maraming hindi makaka-gets.

SHORTS B: Durog, Gabon, Liwanag sa Dilim, Maikling Kuwento, To Ni – I’m not really a fan of Pinoy shorts. Too artsy para sa akin. Pero among the lot, hindi ko makalimutan ang “To-Ni” na tungkol sa imaginary friendship ng isang bata at ng isang rebulto ni Sto. Niño. “Liwanag…” is technically above average and “Gabon” is well written.

ROOMBOY – I missed this film when it was first shown in the first batch of Cinemalaya. Meryl Soriano won a Best Actress award here beating my personal favorite Jaclyn Jose (for “Sarong Banggi”, she won an Urian Best Actress though). I enjoyed the film. If there’s one drawback, it must be Polo Ravales’ acting. Hindi ko masakyan ang angst n’ya at kung napapakita n’ya ba talaga nang maayos o hindi.

TUKSO – The film is produced by a company called “Theater Arts”. To further describe the project, it was directed by Dennis Marasigan (Tanghalang Pilipino’s current frontman) and starred by (drum roll, please) Irma Adlawan, Shamaine Centenara, Nonie Buencamino, Soliman Cruz, Ping Medina and a bunch of actors from different theater groups. When I first saw the film “Sa North Diversion Road”, an adaptation from a stage play, I thought that the material was not film-able. After watching “Tukso”, I was starting to get the hang of it. Maybe there’s really a market for films that have a “stage play” feel (acting, lighting, monologues, etc.). The film, by the way, has a Rashomon-ish storytelling.

Movie Digest # 019

Glorietta 4, Cinema 2, July 23, 8:20pm

The Film Development Board’s Grade A is overrated. I don’t believe that there’s good acting in this film (well, Jolens is fine). Yes, it is technically well crafted (sound editing, cinematography and make-up) but there’s nothing edgy or unforgettable. Pati ang kuwento, ang babaw. The material can still be optimized. Sayang pa naman ‘yung allegedly eh parody sa pagiging magkakapamilya ng mga bidang babae. Pwede pang palalimin. Kung merong maganda sa film, ito ‘yung non-stop na tilian ng mga moviegoers. Ito na siguro ang film na napanood ko sa sinehan na halos hindi na tumigil ang pagtili ng mga tao. Pogi Points ‘to sa side ng director.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who want a good scare (and a good laugh).

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, August 13, 8:20pm

Fine acting. Fine direction. Fine script. The only thing missing: social relevance.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who wish to watch a feel-good, honest-to-goodness film.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Lakbayan Grade

Not bad... :D Just check out this link.

Things 004: “Pisay” OST

At last, an old school OST! Sana ganito na lahat ng mga OST ng pelikulang Noypi. It has musical scores plus the songs used in the movie. And the line-up of artists/contributors involved will not disappoint either: Squid-9 (Raymund Marasigan’s alter ego), Raymund Marisagan (hehehe), Buddy Zabala, McCoy Fundales of Orange and Lemons, Imago and Lourd de Veyra of Radioactive Sago Project. I bought the CD at the CCP Shop during the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2007. I am not sure if this will be available at your suking tindahan.
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