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Monday, June 21, 2010

Movie Digest # 074

SM Megamall, Cinema 8, June 2, 7:30pm

This indie film is directed for the first time by Han Salazar and, if I’m not mistaken, he has done TVC’s and became a part of some film production projects. Written for the screen by Charlotte Dianco (the opening credits say that it’s based on a written material), “Fling” revolves around a complicated (and at some point, a little farfetched) tale between two characters played by Rafael Rosell and Jacq Yu who met and gave in to a one-night stand in Boracay. The story follows the struggle of the girl who tries to court the guy and the guy facing a ghost in the past. Story per se is serviceable; something that you can share with your neighbor, but the direction is occasionally losing its focus. A sequence involving Joy Viado and Jacq Yu is a pain to watch while an extra effort is made a la music video in the flashback sequences. The rest of the scenes are just placid. It is definitely not the best acting vehicle for the leads, especially for Lara Morena whom I find to be miscast as a cosmopolitan girl.

Friends who might appreciate it: Honestly, I’m clueless.

SM Megamall, Cinema 11, June 2, 9:30pm

There are two things happening in there at the same time: Noy (played by Coco Martin) trying to survive a melodramatic life and Noy documenting the campaign of the then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino (as himself). Dondon Santos (its director) and Shugo Praico (writer) are trying to weave a connection between the urban poor (or the Filipino in general) and the future of the nation. The melodrama part is tolerable amidst the tragedy that’s happening one after the other. Though the part is well directed, the randomness is simply unsettling. The documentary-making part, on the other hand, doesn’t have a life of its own. It’s not insightful and worse, the reflection I was expecting is lost somewhere in between scenes that depict the other side of Noynoy Aquino. On the acting department, I can say that it’s one of the best acting ensembles I’ve seen this year. The list of talents is endless: Coco Martin, Cherry Pie Picache, Joem Bascon, Erich Gonzales and even those with few sequences like Pen Medina, his son Ping and African-American actor who played as Ms. Picache’s suitor.

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who voted for the man.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, June 3, 7:20pm

The sassy New Yorkers are back. This time, the girls are tackling midlife crisis and their return to the shocking business (read: sex and Abu Dhabi). Nothing really impressive but I guess that’s the way the HBO series intends to grab the audience by the balls. Written and directed by Michael Patrick King, the sequel is consistent with the fashion ramp, supposedly witty one-liners and some lessons on how a woman behaves sexually or otherwise. On my end, there’s nothing much to discuss about. SATC franchise would always have its following regardless if the story sucks or the sequences are well canned.

Friends who might appreciate it: Probably Angie, Joyce, Au and Jam.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, June 9, 7:45pm

Told through an impressive selection of original songs in Filipino, penned by the likes of Bayang Barrios, Gary Granada, Chino Toledo and Dancel brothers, Ebe and Vin (of Sugarfree and Peryodiko respectively), the film tells the story of an Ilocano barrio lass who tried her luck as an overseas Filipino worker in an Arab country. Of course we’re all familiar with different OFW stories and most of it, tragic. There are also some painful but successful stories and one of those is being depicted on this musical. Frencheska Farr as Amelia is, first and foremost, a good singer. Her voice charms the heart, be it shared with Dulce or Kalila Aguilos or with a big ensemble. The struggle there is on the acting department especially if the role requires her to have a big leap from being too naive to being too toughened. Compared to “Zsa-zsa Zaturnnah”, this Chito Roño-directed musical is not adapted from a play. Though, at times, the plotting from Palanca-winning scriptwriter Jerry Gracio feels like it. For the songs alone, I recommend this movie. Wait ‘til you hear that enthralling duet from Ms. Farr and Sid Lucero. This is one of the rare gems that made the audience shout “bravo” and clap in every musical piece.

Friends who might appreciate it: Every Filipino, karaoke singer or not.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 6, June 11, 7:35pm

This new version of the 1984 original has an African-American kid (credibly played by Jaden Smith) as the protagonist who tries to overcome his fear with the help of a friend (Jackie Chan). What’s good about this movie is that it never becomes pretentious. Yes, it’s Hollywood-ish to the very sense of what a Hollywood film is, and very reachable for the audience, but filmmaker Harald Zwart made sure that he is doing it right. Its running time of 140 minutes probably saves the day. That’s enough room for the build-up, for the characters to simmer and transform the redemption as something a little less make-believe. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan make up a good team onscreen but it’s the menacing Zhenwei Wang who almost stole all the thunder.

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who have seen Peque Gallaga’s “Kid, Huwag Kang Susuko”.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, June 11, 10:30pm

First part shows how the team is formed while the rest of the movie is dominated with a series of operations, mostly cool ones, to banish the bad guys. What’s missing is that something in between that would help us connect the dots on making the characters more believable and engaging. Right in the very first sequences, we already know that the characters won’t die in the end. Saving grace is probably the crazy and witty execution of those Michael Bay explosion scenes peppered with amusing one-liners and wisecracks.

Friends who might appreciate it: Beer and pizza buddies, take two.

SM Mall of Asia, Premiere Cinema, June 16, 7:45pm

I think everybody knows that it’s one of those projects that the actors in mind come to the scene first before the script is cooked. It’s like, “OK, let’s make a film for KC and Gabby Concepcion.” Ideally, it should be the other way around. Bad practice-aside, I can’t say that the film is that poorly made. Maryo J. delos Reyes made sure that he delivers this Father’s Day-themed story to the audience well. It’s just almost everything is too familiar, leaving no space for the audience to experience something fresh and concrete.

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who enjoy can locate that resort house somewhere in Liliw, Laguna.

SM Mall of Asia, IMAX Theater, June 18, 7:45pm

To infinity and beyond, this sequel to two critically acclaimed Pixar projects just made its way to become another masterpiece. If you’ve seen the first two, you probably know the drill. It’s about toys, it’s about outgrowing them and it’s about another escape plan. Visually, the film (directed by Lee Unkrich) gives more than what’s expected. For instance, the idea that Mrs. Potato Head lost her other eye during the first part can be taken two folds. Others would be glad that she lost it and that it serves as an “eye” to what’s happening inside Andy’s house. Or, it could be taken as a metaphor to the things that keep the gang blinded.

Friends who might appreciate it: Kids and adults alike.

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