THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1, June 30, 12:01am
So you’ve probably seen the first two installments. And you are forgiven. In fact, I joined the craze and watched the midnight screening on its opening day of this David Slade film. He, by the way, did a pretty decent job on “30 Days of Night” which is another vampire movie based on a graphic novel and that disturbing “Hard Candy” that deals with, well, pedophilia. With his take on Stephenie Meyer’s popular novel, Bella, Edward and Jacob are still on their prolonged love triangle. That’s basically it. But unlike the second installment, which is just a long thud, this one is a somehow eventful. A vampire was killed in one of the previous films and the scorned other half is on the loose and is revengeful. In defense of Bella, her two boys have to join forces (hence the title). What’s new with this one? Aside from the annoyance like “I’m hotter than you!” and “Don’t you have any shirt?”, there’s more to enjoy in the battle scene like the polished CGI and Jacob getting hurt.
Friends who might appreciate it: Easy. Those who wish to see the upcoming spoof movie entitled “Vampires Suck”.
SM Mall of Asia, IMAX Theater, July 19, 10:00pm
It seems like Christopher Nolan has already made his mark in Hollywood. Thanks to the success of his two Batman movies, he is now given a project that, according to the feed, is close to his heart. Similar to his other movies, the director indulges again with mind games. “Memento” is just a perfect example and so are his small films prior. I’ve seen a couple of fan sites discussing the film, enough proof that a capsule review won’t make up for a summary. Let me just run through the cast: Leo DiCaprio is the main dreamer, the great Marion Cotillard, an Oscar winner for playing Edith Piaf is his wife, Ken Watanabe is the client, Joseph Gordon-Levitt of “(500) Days of Summer” fame is Leo’s co-worker along with Ellen Page from “Juno”. Add Tom Berenger, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy to that already impressive list and you’ll get one of the better acting ensembles for 2010. But it’s not the cast that’s most impressive to me. The film introduces a high-concept material that is too complex to realize on screen. It takes an ace writer-director like Nolan to disentangle things and present it in a much uncomplicated way without being much of a sell-out.
Friends who might appreciate it: My Plurk friends, no less.
Glorietta 4, Cinema 7, July 22, 8:10pm
Star Cinema ventures into horror genre again with this not so new concept. The film is composed of five short films (thus the title) with five able directors tackling five different stories. Frasco Mortiz’ “Braso” has a story set in the morgue with three frat neophytes trying to survive an initiation (the “Hawak-Kamay” slow-mo part is simply memorable). Enrico Santos, who is trying his hand on filmmaking, has the ever reliable Jodie Sta. Maria deal with a young ghost in “Paa”. Ato Bautista’s “Mata” follows the narrative of “Groundhog Day” only a lot dimmer. Nick Olanka’s “Mukha” juggles between what’s stylish and fresh, and what’s irritating. The fifth one, my pick, has Zanjoe Marudo and Pokwang playing cat and mouse in Cathy Garcia-Molina’s “Puso”. Just watch out for the part that connects the whole thing. If there’s one thing that I appreciate in this effort, it is the idea, though unintentionally, that mainstream moviegoers are introduced with the short film form. Let’s just hope and pray that Star Cinema stay focused on something more meaningful other than box office success.
Friends who might appreciate it: Those who think that “Shake, Rattle and Roll” is not fun anymore.
THE LAST AIRBENDER
Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, July 25, 3:15pm
The sad thing about this M. Night Shyamalan (yes, of “Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable”, “Signs” and “The Village” fame) movie is that critics have already lambasted the movie before it reaches our shore. Rants vary. Some are hitting the technical aspects and some, mostly my friends, are disappointed primarily because it ruined the Nickelodeon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. Good thing, I haven’t watched that one yet. At face value, the film is not that bad. I mean for sure we’ve seen epic movies far more disastrous than that. It tells the story of different kingdoms inhabited by people of different expertise. There’s waterbenders, firebenders and earthbenders and another group called the airbenders, the most powerful, that hold the balance. Everything was in mess when the group that supposed to manage everything became instinct. Then came the resurrection of the Avatar (newcomer Noah Ringer), an airbender, which signals the return of order. I understand where the director is coming from. The concept of reincarnation (which Martin Scorsese more effectively hinted us with “Kundun”) and inner self are two of the things that are difficult to pass up. What I don’t understand is the incoherent script, bad acting mainly from the leads and that overbearing and tiring musical score from James Newton Howard.
Friends who might appreciate it: Those who are waiting for M. Night Shyamalan’s next movie called “Devil”.
New Port Cinemas, Cinema 2, July 28, 7:50pm
Admittedly, I adore Phillip Noyce’s film adaptation of Tom Clancy novels “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger” (both starred by Harrison Ford as the iconic Jack Ryan). I appreciate the involvement of the government in any action movie and how they play a key part in the protection (or lack of it) of the people. “Salt” may have a commentary about the government and its operations but the main agenda is not really that. It tells the story of a spy named Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie who also starred in another Phillip Noyce movie entitled “The Bone Collector”) who is wrongfully accused of being the assassin of the Russian president. I can’t divulge the rest as it may ruin your viewing pleasure but let’s just say that what are movie twists for without casting the great Liev Schreiber. Enjoyment is somehow synonymous to this film. It is action packed to the very meaning of it. Before you could analyze (or is it overanalyze?) a flaw, a new scene or premise pops up, letting you forgive it for a while and just realize later after the movie the shortcomings it had collected. In short, don’t watch and think (or whatever comes first).
Friends who might appreciate it: Those who worship Angelina Jolie’s lips.