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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Movie Digest # 068

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, January 10, 4:30pm

The first thing I notice about this comedy is the title which is pretty much reminiscent of Jesse Eisenberg’s other film “Adventureland”. This time, as the title suggests, is all about zombies. And just like any other film about zombies, it’s a common story about being chased away and survival. Putting Mr. Eisenberg in the cast plus the great (and much focused on this movie) Woody Harrelson and my niece’s favorite (another promising actress) Abigail Breslin complete with a contemporary humor, the experience is not common after all. I wish the film to push further just like what “Shawn of the Dead” did but it is fine as it is. This is the first movie I’ve seen inside the cinema. Hopefully it’s a good indication of what’s in store for 2010.

Friends who might appreciate it: Bill Murray fans.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 6, January 10, 7:50pm

This movie seals that 2010 is really a bright year for cineastes. If the film is used as gauge, Guy Ritchie must be having a ball with his separation with Madonna. He directs the film with his signature sequence and editing style that I couldn’t think to be doable for a period piece like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”. Script is definitely not a sell-out (not to mention intelligent and witty enough) and the sequencing keeps the audience hooked from start to finish. Maybe I was expecting more of that suave British accent from Robert Downey Jr. but his delivery is graceful enough to save the day. I’m wondering how much talent fee he is getting at this point of his career. Jude Law is also good here and I can sense at least an Oscar nomination for a supporting role. For a very enjoyable ride and interesting set of characters, don’t miss this movie.

Friends who might appreciate it: The know-it-all group called “Daalps”.

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 7, January 17, 5:30pm

It’s the third Cesar Apolinario film that I watched and I still can’t figure out how he wants to be taken as director. “Banal” borders on popcorn film and news worthy material while “Estasyon” tries to be more documentary-like then accelerated to drama. “Puntod” sticks to the news worthy part and overwhelms with the emotional giving the audience a feel of melodrama that was shot on location. The film delves into the life of deaf/mute girl who grew up in the slums. Her dilemma was primarily to earn money for the bones of her dead mother. Of course, she has friends. She has a bitchy sister. And she’s somewhat connected to a bevy of characters from the neighborhood to help her get by. With occasionally unrealistic speaking lines and acting but there’s more to see in this movie. For instance, the concept of “keeping” the lead character’s mother is very memorable. I haven’t seen anything like that in the local shore. That one alone separates the film from your usual Pinoy melodrama.

Friends who might appreciate it: Probably Manny Villar supporters.

SM Megamall, Cinema 6, January 17, 8:00pm

I understand the vision of director Joel Lamangan and scriptwriter Raquel Villavicencio here. They wanted to depict a picture of a family that’s gone awry, an antidote to a social structure that’s been a pedestal to Filipino culture. It tells a story of an allegedly ordinary family whose reversal of fortune took flight when the mother decided to become an OFW to sustain her family’s needs. What follows is a series of tormented events from paternal deprivation to incest, domestic violence and the like. I actually like the first act when the director chooses to include a dash of quiet scenes only to be ruined by the overly exaggerated sequences in the last part. Maybe there’s a lot to learn from Chito Roño’s “Dahas” (or Chito Roño in general). In addition, I find Gloria Diaz a miscast here and Lovie Poe, lacking (thanks to a very disturbed and complicated character).

Friends who might appreciate it: None. Feel free to avoid this film.

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 7, January 17, 8:00pm

This film is being publicized through the papers and the net as a metaphor for opening a Pandora’s Box for a not so popular topic in Philippine cinema called male rape. I agree. Of course we’ve heard a lot of stories before, specifically those who are working in the Middle East. There are even jokes that if you’re a male and you’re Saudi-bound, you should at least sport a moustache and a long goon-like hair. I personally heard stories from friends before (not theirs though). Some were “executed” in the desert inside the taxi while others were as moderate as sexual harassment inside the office. “Fidel” tries to sum up all those untold stories but it ended up just telling a story. I wish it could explore more boundaries and iterate more questions. Also, it chooses to embark on an emotional route rather than psychological or cerebral. Nonetheless, I like the film’s dramatic tension. It’s sustained from start to finish and, for a first time director, this is commendable. I also appreciate the fact that even if it’s low-budgeted, evidenced by production design and the like, it remains steadfast in ambitiously telling the story.

Friends who might appreciate it: OFW’s.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, January 22, 8:00pm

I hope people will watch it not primarily because it’s Heath Ledger’s swan song but because the expectations for this movie are met. In a nutshell, it’s a Faust-like tale with Doctor Parnassus as the main protagonist. His imaginarium, a world that has a fancy mirror as its portal, is the devise used to execute or test the pact with the devil. I can’t tell you the rest of the story as some of the twists and turns require a little discussion. What’s reassuring to know is that inside the imaginarium is a bunch of great CGI fireworks that I’ve never seen before. Acting-wise, I didn’t see the intensity of Joker from Mr. Ledger here but there are some nuances. The transformation to other actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrell) requires a consideration but it still works. Watch this movie and let me know your rebuttal.

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who wish to be purified.

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