Category: movies

Ma’Rosa: A Film about the Current Philippine State

It is supposed to be the time of the year when I would write about Cinemalaya, an annual indie-film festival here in Manila.  I would usually write about the movie entry that I enjoyed or touched me to the core.  However, I opted not to write any of the movies I saw because it seem that the quality of films featured this year seem not worth it.

Instead, let me feature the film I saw over the last weekend.  It was shown in movie houses a year ago and in the comforts of my home that I got to see Ma’Rosa, a film by the brilliant Brillante Mendoza.

MAROSA poster
unexpected! surprisingly brilliant!

Ma’Rosa is the official Philippine entry in last year’s Oscars Foreign Film category.  This movie however failed to make it to the final cut of finalists.  Nevertheless, this is the same movie that was an entry in last year’s Cannes Film Festival in which the lead actress Jacklyn Jose was adjudged as the Best Actress.

The story, the representation, the set and acting seem so real, it felt like I was actually groping into the lives of a poor Filipino family who only have few options of endure life’s challenges.  Jacklyn Jose was so outstanding now I know why she won.

After seeing the movie, I was actually not surprised why the Film Academy of the Philippines chose this movie as last year’s entry to Oscars.  It is because the elements, the texture and the narrative are all Filipino in nature in its present sorry state.  The movie effectively showed and represent how it is to be poor in the Philippines.

I was also not surprised why this movie did not make it to Oscars, maybe it is because the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of America felt that this Brillante movie was too fictional to the point of being too exaggerated.  But let me oppose that.  I would be one of those Filipinos who was born and raised here, who would dissent at this type of notion.  Ma’Rosa is nothing but real, genuine and existent in this side of the planet.

It was a superb Filipino movie.  It may not have reached the Oscars level but Ma’Rosa is one brilliant Filipino film.  And I hope next year’s Cinemalaya entries would be as exceptional as this one.

Brilyant!

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In A Heartbeat

Its August 1

Let’s start August positive;

Let’s start August happy;

Let’s start August smiling;

Let’s start August animated;

Let’s start August hopeful;

Let’s start August inspired;

Let’s start August with a perfect gem; and,

Let’s start August In A Heart Beat

cute

Kyut…

A Surprise Encounter with Master Yoda

While at the Presidio looking for a nearby Starbucks to fulfill my coffee craving for the day, I happen to have found a fountain that features one of the most iconic fictional movie characters of all time.  While sipping my coffee and taking a much deserved rest inside Starbucks after a beautiful walk at the Palace of Fine Arts, I looked into Google Maps to determine how to go back to my hotel.

Google Maps pointed that I am actually steps away from a certain Yoda Fountain.  I just wondered if Yoda is the same Yoda that I was thinking of.  I absolutely had zero idea about it! And out of curiosity, I followed the Google Map on how to reach it.

you won’t notice it unless you’ve been told
taray ng lolo mo may monumento
“spontaneity” is the word

With my personal belief that “spontaneity is the best kind of adventure”, I had a surprising selfie with Yoda, the Grand Master of the Jedi Order!

Adapting to the famous movie line by Yoda, one of wisest beings of the galaxy, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose”, this type of surprising occurrence and unpredictable circumstance truly made my first time solo travel adventure so fulfilling!

‘Di ko akalaing makita ang huklubang Yoda sa Kalipornya!

Gaston of Beauty And The Beast

 

Pure enjoyment.  That is how I would describe my general view and opinion after watching the rebooted and newest version of Disney’s Beauty And The Beast.  It is a film that is loaded with thoughts, scenes and features that will warm your heart.  Viewers will definitely fall in love with the lead characters and will delightfully be mesmerized with the characters who were cursed to become inanimate objects.  The Be My Guest scene was spectacular!

I’m pretty sure a lot has been written about the various characters of the movie.  Even LeFou the sidekick of Gaston (the main nemesis) had loads of write ups about him because of his being a member of the LGBT.  And since I am more of a fanatic of the antagonists that those of the usually boring bida, heroes, heroines or protagonists, let me write about Gaston.

Personally, Gaston (superbly played by Luke Evans in the movie) was a potential favorite at the beginning of the story but I eventually dropped him when he turned unreasonably evil.  Gaston was funny and a likeable idiot at first half of the movie.  With the good looks of Luke Evans, I’m pretty sure some of the viewers would rather drop the Beast and instead root for Gaston.

In the movie, Gaston started as a conceited narcissistic dude with a dash of charming-ness but his funny-at-first demeanor suddenly turned unappealing when he starts to get too irrationally sore and unreasonably obsessed with Belle.  I don’t like the Gaston characterization at the end part because it does not have a background on why Gaston turned out to be the Gaston in the movie.  Gaston is unlike other movie nemesis in which a backgrounder is presented on why they turned evil.  I actually just assumed and have to settle on a thought that Gaston who wears a military uniform must be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being in a terrifying war or traumatic battle that is why he is so unstable.

Though with unexplained past and unexplored personal history in the movie, I guess, Gaston’s character and wickedness is one vital need in the movie so as to enhance and further emphasize the pureness of the hearts of both Belle and the Beast.  Without Gaston, there won’t be a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, (all together now!) Beauty and the Beast.

Gaston did a pretty good job.  He is actually the true and spot-on beast in the movie.  If he survived the high fall at the end part of the story, he now has adequate reason to rile and aggravate the future lives of the Beauty and the Beast!

Dahil kontrabida ang peg, Team Gaston ako!

Queen Meryl

If your life story would be featured in a film, who among the actors and actresses would you want to portray your character?  Since it will take metric tons to depict my charm, appeal and personality, it will take a true thespian, prolific performer and sensational artiste to take on my character.  I actually think that no living male actor can do my role.  But one actress (for that matter), I guess, can level up and take on the extreme challenge of being my character.  I would certainly choose the most celebrated actress of all time, Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep is so good, give her the character of a chair, she can certainly act like one.  And you will be left stunned and entertained at the end of her characterization of being a genuine chair.

queen meryl
queen meryl

I personally have lost count on how many Meryl Streep movies that I’ve seen.  But in each movie, she was simply frank, authentic and valid.  She is so effective you would actually forget that she is Meryl Streep, the actress.

And just yesterday, I was again extremely impressed by Meryl Streep when she rendered a very powerful speech when she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Golden Globes.  It was intense, it was true, it was charming, it was emphatic.  Such a poignant speech actually shook the whole America out of its wits!  It is because, what she was saying seem to shake and wake them all up.

Why was Meryl so effective and made a buzz all over the world in her yesterday’s speech?  It was because everybody – at the back of their brain – seem to be being told, lectured, chided and harangued by Miranda Priestly, Margaret Thatcher, Sister Aloysius Beauvier, Florence Foster Jenkins, Joanna Kramer, Violet Weston, Sophie Zawitowski, Donna of Mama Mia and The Witch of Into The Woods all at the same freaking time!

That is how powerful Meryl Streep is!  She’s so powerful she should be crowned and dubbed as the Queen of America!

Aydol! Ibang lebel kung tumira si Ateng!

Tuos: An Exotic 2016 Cinemalaya Entry

I have always believed that a superb art no matter what medium it is should be something that emits emotion subject to the sensors’ perception.  It should be an art that is open to the subjective interpretation by the people who experiences it.

This precept is especially true of the Filipino film entitled Tuos, an official entry in the 2016 Cinemalaya Film Festival presently running at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  The conduct of the story as well as the moods of each of the characters in the film are all subject to the interpretation by the viewers.

cultural!!!
cultural!!!
exotica!
exotica!

Directed by Derick Cabrido, I consider Tuos as one of the most exotic Filipino film from among the Filipino films that I have seen.  Though the movie has the tendency to get quite dragging, some of the rich colors of the Filipino customs and culture were shrewdly presented.

And aside from the impeccable acting of the legendary Filipino actress, Nora Aunor who plays Pina-Ilog in the movie, what particularly impressed me by Tuos were the additional layers of art that were fittingly mixed in the story.  The landscape presented in a modern visual art and the haunting old folklore of a song mixed together during the animation portion of the movie were pure brilliance.  These layers of art added up to the already rich texture of the movie.

When the movie ended and was already rolling its credits, I was left s mystified, stunned and thinking.  With my limited cerebral capacity, I tried interpreting the scenes and the narratives that were presented.  And there’s one last thing that I realized about Tuos, that it is indeed one exotic and powerful movie that only the smart and brainy human beings would be able to appreciate.

Sori na lang sa mga bobo, pang matalino lang ang pelikulang ito.

Laughing at Conjuring

Two weeks ago was movie night in the office.  I was the one who initiated the invitation for this mini-gig.  The movie in my mind was the terrifying second edition of Conjuring and as expected only few agreed to join.  Not everyone, I guess, in the office is keen on watching creepy movies.

The movie is supposed to be cerebrally ominous and emotionally disturbing.  But what turned out during our viewing was the opposite.  Watching Conjuring 2 suddenly felt like me and my colleagues entered into some fun horror house of some amusement park.  This is because we were giggling our hearts out while awaiting the big scare of a scene!  And we would cackle so hard because the movie was so effective in startling our wits out!

before the movie...
before the movie… from right: gelene, cherrie, neil, rosely and jb
scary jb (before the movie)
after the movie… from right: gelene, cherrie, neil, rosely and valak (MWAHAHAHA!)

The fun feeling and pleasurable laughter we had seem to overpower the supposed feeling of intense fright and terror.  Conjuring 2 then suddenly became a super fun and enjoyable movie.  It is a must see movie with fun friends!  Can’t wait for its third installment!

 Mamatay-matay ako sa katatawa!