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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ilang Thought mula sa Cinemanila 2008

(Meron lang akong susubukang estilo. Try kong mag-blog sa boses na parang kinakausap ko lang ang aking mga friendly friends. Isang eksperimento, isang challenge.)

‘Di ko na masyadong matandaan ‘yung date kung kelan nag-Cinemanila sa Gateway. Mas memorable pa yata ‘yung incident na nanapak si Tikoy Aguiluz ng isang press bago matapos ang festival. Pero medyo matagal ko na sanang ginawa ‘tong entry na ‘to. Nag-rely lang ako sa mga capsule reviews ni Philbert Ortiz Dy ng at parang lahat naman ng gustong sabihin ay nasabi na n’ya.

Pero ayaw kong paawat:

NOISE – This sets the mood for the festival. ‘Di s’ya mainstream film at most likely, ‘di s’ya pleaser. Medyo nakakaantok ‘yung film at kailangan ng maraming tiyaga para ma-appreciate. Para kang nanonood ng mga talky part sa pelikula ni Tarantino. Tungkol ito sa isang pulis at isang krimen at kung paano sila pinagtagpo. Sa bigger perspective, tungkol talaga ‘to sa coincidences. Wala namang masyadong pangit sa pelikula maliban sa hindi kontroladong akting n’ung lead actor/character. Mas umaasa ako ng underacting sa mga ganung tema o materyal. ‘Di ko makakalimutan syempre ‘yung huling frame na parang parody yata sa nativity scene (ang finale ay naganap sa Pasko).

I’M A CYBORG BUT IT’S OK – Ikalawang movie ko ‘to for my first day at Cinemanila 2008. I came from an exhausting volunteer activity at La Mesa Ecopark and I kind of chose a second film that will energize me. Plano ko kasing i-push sa limit ang katawan ko and see kung invincible (pa rin) ako pagdating sa movies. So I picked a film na sa tingin ko ay di masyadong heavy. Since Korean film at si Rain ang bida sa film na ‘to, akala ko, usual rom-com. Pero nagkamali ako. ‘Di ko napansin na ang direktor pala ay ‘yung sa “Old Boy” (na nagustuhan ko naman kahit sobrang “creative” ng kuwento). Coming from “Noise”, struggle ‘tong panoorin. Tungkol pala s’ya sa mga pasyente sa isang mental hospital at kung paano posibleng mag-bloom ang love amidst the backdrop. It’s very visual (read: CGI-filled) and, a bit weird (which is good, hehehe) and artsy. If not for the resolution at the ending, baka di ko s’ya magustuhan. Maybe I shouldn’t underestimate Rain next time (and for crying out loud, he was not wearing black in the whole film).

NIGHT BUS – The first film that I found to be a fitting Cinemanila contender. Socially relevant s’ya. Tungkol ito sa isang bus na nagdala ng mga POW sa isang magiyerang bahagi ng Iran. Limited sa oras ang material, halos two days lang ang itinakbo n’ung movie. Which is a good thing dahil medyo “in” ang ganitong devise. Meron naman s’yang na-build up na kwento at suspense at ang last part tungkol sa pag-asa ng isang naghihintay na housewife ay medyo malalim at bittersweet.

SITA SINGS THE BLUES - Nagustuhan ko 'yung pelikula. Fresh kasi at may tama. Pero may nabasa akong review na mukha raw YouTube material lang 'yung film. I couldn't disagree more dahil sa iba't ibang tono n'ung film. Animation kasi 'to. Isa s'yang deconstruction ng pamosong epiko na "Ramayana". Obvious na babae ang sumulat at bumuo ng movie. Tinalakay nito, kung hindi man nagtanong, kung bakit parati na lang naghihintay si Sita sa kanyang Rama. N'ung napanood ko ang pelikulang ito, that's the only time I realize kung gaano ka-sexist 'yung material.

ADELA - The film isn't bad. Hindi s'ya ang pinakabulok sa ginawa ni Adolf Alix (na siguro ay pwede na nating pinaka-prolific na filmmaker sa Pinas sa dami ng kanyang mga ginawa at ginagawa). Anita Linda is also at her best. I particularly like the scene where she's mimicking a radio drama. It's just that hindi ako na-hook n'ung movie. Tungkol ito sa pagtanda nang nag-iisa, which I admit is very familiar to me (hehehe), pero hindi ako napag-isip.

LOVE OF SIAM - Perhaps this is this year's audience's choice as most of the screenings were either jampacked or sold-out. The film can be classified as teenage gay/coming of age movie. Think of "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros" and the like. It tells a bittersweet story of two teenagers who are in the brink of sexuality, identity and the love that gets along the way. Simple lang actually ang pagkakagawa. At some point ay medyo glossy at melodramatic din (read: Star Cinematic). Pero if we're talking about angst and growing up, "Love of Siam" has all the fangs.

BAND’S VISIT - This year's best film! And I that's pretty much a deserving feat for this film from Israel. Tungkol naman ito sa isang banda from Egypt na magpe-perform sa isang bayan sa Israel. Dahil sa language barrier, naligaw sila at nawala (literally) sa ibang bayan. Dito na umikot ang movie na halos naganap lamang sa loob ng isang gabi. Great acting, stagey and deadpan.

MANORO - It's one of those rare films which I can watch along with my dad. Isa ito sa mga ginawa ni Brillante Mendoza at 'yung sumulat ng "Kubrador". The film tells a story about a day (or two) in the life of an Ita girl. Kung paano sila kumain, makisalamuha, etc. (which will get my dad's interest). It's well directed and not pretentious. Nawala lang ako sa technology na ginamit sa paggawa nito. Sa version na napanood ko sa digital cinema, medyo na-wash out nang masyado 'yung mga images.

TIRADOR - Dito ko na nakumpleto ang filmography ni Brillante Mendoza, again sa panulat ng sumulat ng "Kubrador". Kamukha ng iba pa n'yang pelikula, the film also tackles poverty set in a neighborhood somewhere in Manila. Ginawa 'tong microcosm ng society (ho-hum) pero maraming kick 'yung movie. Maganda 'yung openeing scene. Parang umpisa ng isang Greek play, nakaka-high ng adrenaline 'yung pagpapakilala ng mga tauhan. Walang bida at kontrabida, at mas lalong walang main story. This becomes the weakness of the film as it fails to hold the weight of those intertwining lives.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Movie Digest # 049

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, October 12, 8:40pm

Russel Crowe and Leonardo Di Caprio, two of Hollywood’s better actors in one action film directed by Ridley Scott. That’s probably the film’s main come-on. On top of that is the technical part: crisp sound editing and heart-pumping camera work. Sad to say, there’s nothing to root when looking for a storyline. If only the script focuses more on the relationship between the two male chracters, that would be a treat.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who are craving for a truthful film on terrorism.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, October 13, 7:30pm

No sarcasm whatsoever but I like the film. Maybe because it was pretty dragging for me for an action film. The dragging half helps the other half to pump my adrenaline. It's very predictable, yes, but the slow-mo and the visual are awesome. It has a "Sin City" feel but not close. I love the part where Max Payne turns into a hero, just like Hulk turning green. It's very campy and i simply love it. Plus of course, it's one of the rare films who subversively (or unintentionally) promotes drugs.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who haven’t played the video game.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 2, October 28, 7:50pm

Before watching the film, I had a hint that it would remind me of commando comedy films that Redford White and the like had done. But it’s different. It’s supposed to be a satire to some themes like documentary filmmaking, Hollywood’s fat producers and overrated actors. Boasting of an A-list namely Ben Stiller (as actor/director), Robert Downey Jr. (in a mindblowing Russel Crowe-like character), Jack Black and Tom Cruise (in an unintentionally too serious take of a cameo role as a producer), the film is an enjoyable ride.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who haven’t seen an honest-to-goodness comedy for a while.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, November 5, 10:00pm

James Bond is evolving, that’s my impression after watching the film. Thanks to the new era of “Bourne Identity” and “Transporter”. This second Daniel Craig starrer is more of a prolonged introduction of who James Bond is and what makes him as he is. No Q, no gadgets scene, just Daniel Craig’s superb rendition of the dashing British spy. More “pogi” points for the film: a fitting finale with fire (“Casino Royale” has water) and the use of Tosca as a devise to denote murder and running away.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who prefer martini, stirred.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 1, November 6, 8:20pm

I haven’t seen an animated film for a long time and I can say that “Madagascar 2” did not disappoint me. It’s witty and decent for an eye-candy film. The only unappealing for me is the “Lion King”-ish subplot.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who like to move it, move it.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 4, November 8, 2:30pm

I like the film and I wouldn't mind recommending it to friends. It's very rare to see a Pinoy black comedy and "My Only U" is definitely a guilty pleasure. If this is an attempt for Star Cinema to show something new (for a mainstream film, that is), then the film is a success. Comparing this film to Bb. Joyce Bernal's "For the First Time" (or even Cathy Garcia-Molina's "A Very Special Love" or the Toni-Sam film ages ago), I would always prefer “My Only U". Toni's take of a Koreanovela female character is awesome. Scenes with her shedding of tears are necessary but not overwhelming. Vhong Navarro, on the other hand, is effective on his underacting. I can say that "My Only U" is the funniest mainstream film I've seen so far for this year.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who wish to see Ronnie Magsanoc in a cameo (and a funny outtake).
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