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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Movie Digest # 036

Glorietta 4, Cinema 7, February 13, 8:25pm

Of course, I like it. This film is definitely a pleaser, a laugh-a-minute and engaging chick flick (or more appropriately, a woman’s film). Maybe it’s comparable to Hilary Swank films wherein the female protagonist holds the story on its balls and the character fares equally with the other gender. “Juno” is about a 16-year old girl named Juno who got pregnant by her best friend. The film tells her journey to young motherhood as she searches for perfect adoptive parents and her struggles with growing up and that thing called love. Every scene is executed with humor a la Jessica Zafra and that makes the main character’s difficulty bearable to watch (with a little help from its OST, of course).

Friends who might appreciate it: women!

Gateway, Cinema 4, February 17, 12:10pm

Artsy and alienating. I don’t understand the characters, mababa ang “relate factor”. The film itself is misleading. I thought it’s one of those giant Hollywood films in the tradition of “Citizen Kane” (read: Orson Welles films) and the like but it cruises a different sea. Akala ko pa naman, first time na gagawa ng non-artsy film si Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch Drunk Love” and “Magnolia”) pero nasa kasibulan pa rin pala s’ya. As a film, I can guarantee that it’s well made. There’s a gigantic effort in cinematography, screenplay and most especially, in the acting department (one of the most effective acting ensemble for 2007).

Friends who might appreciate it: those who can explain the raining of frogs.

Robinsons Galleria, IndieSine (Cinema 8), February 17, 4:30pm

Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos are undisputedly one of our better indie filmmakers. Their “Ilusyon” is a revelation (with Yul Servo and Jaycee Parker). Maganda ang visual/vision nila sa mga obra nila. For me, this is a major requirement for a film director. “Selda” is a winner in terms of that quality. Ang gaganda ng mga shots, piling pili ang mga angles. But as compared to their first film, this film is more eventful. We can dismiss the fact that it has a “Brokeback Mountain”-ish edge when it comes to capturing the angst of the lead characters. May ginto sa aktingan sina Emilio Garcia at Sid Lucero rito. Pwedeng palampasin ang comparison. OK rin na kilala ng mga filmmakers ang target audience nila. Hindi ito na-conceptualize para maging malaswa. Maging ang mga ultra conservative siguro ay mapapalampas ang mga maseselang eksena. Pero nakakalunod ang plot kung hindi man katanong-tanong ang logic nito. One of the scenes that “ruined” it all is the breakdown scene with Ara Mina. Saan nanggaling ang mga sinabi n’ya? Bakit bigla yata ang mga conclusion n’ya tungkol sa kanyang asawang si Sid Lucero? Oh, well. Hanggang sa susunod na lamang na Villaluna-Ramos film

Friends who might appreciate it: those who think that it is the Pinoy version of “Prison Break”.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, February 9, 4:00pm

So far, the best Oscar 2007-decorated film that I have seen. It’s both visually stunning and satisfying. Forget that Brad Pitt’s on it (he’s actually the film’s weakest link). His acting is very inconsistent (some are good and subtle though). Other than Mr. Pitt, the rest of cast delivers a series of acting highlights. Casey Affleck is on top of this in the scene where his relatives/friends poke fun at his Jesse James’ paraphernalia. Others also shine even with a short screening time. But wait, the film is not just an acting film. It tackles other issues like social cancer, identity and, of course, cowardice. For me, the best scenes are those executed after the assassination. That’s where the film starts to post questions to its viewers. Definitely a must-see.

Friends who might appreciate it: cowboys and photography buffs.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 4, February 27, 7:25pm

It’s funny that when Jade Castro, the director, did the critically acclaimed “Endo”, some were commenting that the film is too Star Cinematic. When he finally did a Star Cinema film, I now find it too un-Star Cinematic. The project tries to combine both the familiar elements of Pinoy rom-com and the magic of “Endo” (or indie films in general). This serves as the film’s strength and weakness. “My Big Love” is likeable for me when it makes an effort to create every tender scene so natural. No moving camera, no glossy cinematography, no Koreanovela-like female characters, etc. I can single out some scenes that are a work of genius. I particularly like the subtle confrontation scene between the two female lead characters. This is the part where Kristine asks Toni if she can have an item (a twisted fork) for keeps, which the latter rejects by getting it back. A frame follows it with Kristine on her way outside the building/gym. The scene spends less than a minute of screening time but it speaks a lot on Kristine’s dilemma. Film moments like that could work for those who appreciated “Endo” but not for those who are familiar with Star Cinema’s (or GMA Films’) previous takes on rom-com. They may find the film simple, a bit boring and anti-climactic. For me, this is the film’s down side. It’s indeed challenging to indie-fy the supporting characters of a dysfunctional family and friends, the too common plot, “chasing” scenes similar to stopping a wedding or catching a flight, etc. I would prefer it more if the filmmaker took side instead and not just balance the two opposing poles (mainstream and indie). Just the same, the efforts are there and should be credited.

Friends who might appreciate it: rom-comatics.

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