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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Movie Digest # 078

Glorietta 4, Cinema 6, January 28, 8:05pm

Do you know those rom-coms where the leading man, after hitting an epiphany minutes before the ending, rushes to his lady love, begs for a second chance and promises eternity? I’m tired of those and this one’s no exception. Sure it has Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway (reunited from “Brokeback Mountain”), and both are really good, but that’s about it.

Friends who might appreciate it: Anne-nonimous.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, January 28, 10:15pm

Most of my days spent when I was working in Singapore required me to appreciate Canto-Pop even from as far as Hongkong. Enter Andy Lau who is considered as one of the “Heavenly Kings” and who did wonderful films like “Infernal Affairs” and “Full Time Killers”. He’s in this period movie. He plays a cruel officer who transforms into a humble warrior after a tragic overtaking of power, a role that would require him to showcase his innate dramatic dreamcoat and a bit of an action figure. There’s also Jacky Chan who provides support to the project and a whole lot of martial arts spectacle. This is something that we don’t expect in art houses but sure the fight scenes are modestly enjoyable.

Friends who might appreciate it: I don’t know. How about those who miss Cynthia Luster?

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 8, January 30, 4:15pm

I’ve heard Noriel Jarito’s name before but I haven’t seen any of his short films yet (DVD compilations are being sold at the CCP shop). They are mostly about the plight of migrant workers and this feature length is no different. It’s about an OFW from the Middle East who comes home only to find out that his girl is having an affair with another man. “Rindido” is the state of mind the protagonist has to go through to deal with his adversary. I’m no scriptwriter but I think the film requires a clearer storytelling. For instance, an alternate ending confuses its simple premise and some technical aspects that need extra polishing didn’t help. Best part: the love scene.

Friends who might appreciate it: Definitely not for those who just came home from Egypt.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 6, February 2, 7:50pm

I asked a high school friend to join me in watching this movie hinting that I will be disappointed if I watch it alone. True enough (and to my delight), my friend was a voluntary victim of the scare tactics that the film has to offer but also made it a point to laugh when needed (I think I chuckled in two or three scenes). On the minus side, I find the director a bit lazy on this one compared to his other works like “Feng Shui” and “Sukob”. The CGI is bad, the atmosphere is not balanced and probably the lead character being a male is not as flattering (though Vhong Navarro is a great actor, no doubt). I can say that since the movie made well in the box office, and that the crowd I was in when I saw it gladly reacted to the film, then the mission is accomplished.

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who wish to see Chito Roño’s take on comedy.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1, February 10, 8:50pm

Can we conclude that most, if not all, Danny Boyle’s films deal with survival? The poor kid in “Slumdog Millionaire”, the drug junkie in “Trainspotting”, the humans versus zombies in “28 Days Later”, the backpacker in “The Beach”, the astronauts in “Sunshine” and the little boy in “Millions”. This time around, the director opts to lie low with simple film production about a backpacker who gets stuck in a crack when a rock hits his right arm (pretty much the whole ordeal is a summary of “The Beach”). What I like about the film, aside from James Franco’s Oscar worthy performance, is how the whole 127 hours of torment become interesting visually. Thanks to Boyle’s style and the honesty of the real life account from which the project is adapted. Self reflective and engaging (the last 15 minutes made me cringe), this film ups my perspective in life and the people around me.

Friends who might appreciate it: My once-in-a-blue-moon trek buddies.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, February 10, 10:45pm

For the retelling of Rapunzel, yes. For the old-school Disney musical, yes. For the visuals (especially the one involving a gazillion lanterns), yes. It’s three yeses!

Friends who might appreciate it: Ricky Reyes. But wait, we’re not friends. Yet.

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 7, February 17, 9:30pm

We’ve seen two Ray Gibraltar movies before and both are well received. His second outing, “Wanted: Border”, for instance, is my best Pinoy film for 2009. So I went to the cinema with high hopes (just like those who first saw the movie during Cinemanila last year). And not only that, screenwriter Archie del Mundo happens to be a co-Titusian. “Brod” is about the travails of Terence (Kenjie Garcia), a gay student, in going through the pitfalls of being a fraternity member. The initiation is interspersed with the path that he has to elbow when he meets Tad (Ardie Bascara), his fraternity lord. The two fell in love and together they face the final hazing. Direction is there. It’s just that I am not sure what the hell the film is for. Is it to raise money? Is it a platform for the director to prove that he can do a generic film? As for the story, I think it’s another anti-thesis to male sexuality, a notion (could be cheap to some) that everybody is prone to a sudden “gust of wind”. Archie did this with his “Ben & Sam” wherein a basketball star player is found to be gay. This time around, it’s somebody from the fraternity. Next, I’m guessing, is a taxi driver.

Friends who might appreciate it: Mr. Pete. Sorry, lack of sleep.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 7, February 23, 7:55pm

Of course we are all watching this primarily because of the Coens (and that proposition is still golden with this one). This remake of a 1969 cowboy flick tells the long journey of 14-year old Mattie Ross (convincingly played by Hailee Steinfeld) as she demands justice for the death of his father. Together with U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges is Jeff Bridges) and LaBoeuf (Matt Damon who’s always good with the projects he chose), they take the road to retribution. I haven’t seen all the films of the Coen brothers but I find this one more mainstream audience-friendly than the others. It’s not in a hurry as Hollywood action movies do and has provided much attention to let the flawed characters simmer. It has the mood of John Wayne movies, the vast arid land (which has snow at some point, probably to correct something), horses and those duel scenes. Watch it, watch it!

Friends who might appreciate it: Those who miss the good old Western movies.

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