Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sana Dati (2013): IF ONLY we have more of these films instead of our usual dose of Love/Sex/Cheat-All-You-Can mainstream melodrama.

It's so rare for me to rave about a Pinoy movie, but that's not to say that there aren't any good Filipino movies out there. Obviously there are, somewhere, out there - but the ones shown in theaters are either downright silly or blatant money-milking franchises that it makes me cringe knowing that the Philippine Cinema is eating dust from other Asian countries because the movie industry continues to spurt turd after turd of soulless movies simply because it's what the majority of the audience wants.

It's only sometimes that I watch local movies, but when I do, I try to find quality films. Most of it I couldn't see even if I wanted to. But sometimes, just sometimes, I manage to find such gems and it makes my soul cry to witness such beauty and yet it goes unnoticed by most of us. I have raved about Erik Matti's On the Job, but I'm here to talk about another film.

Screenplay & Directed by:  Jerrold Tarog
"If Only" 
(with english sub)
Running Time: 100 mins
Country: Philippines 
Sana Dati is a 2013 romantic drama film by Jerrold Tarog, as the final installment of his Camera trilogy (which I haven't seen), and which competed in the prestigious Cinemalaya festival and reaped raves and awards, one of which is Best Film.

I'm so glad I have managed to see this and I wish that it gets a wider release. While watching, I wonder why we can't get such films of this quality a mainstream release. I wonder why people continue to ignore films which gives us stories that pluck at the innermost strings of our emotions, and yet feed such drivel that only have pseudo-witty one-liners and slapstick humor and shameless product placements. It's a pity.

What I like about this film is its simplicity. I'm not saying it lacks depth or sophistication because it also has that. Sana Dati is a quiet beauty. Everything is natural. The acting is heartfelt, the script is striking, the cinematography is beautiful, and the direction is simply masterful.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

[MOVIEHOUSE MADNESS]: Guardians of the Galaxy and Why You Need To See It.

"MOVIEHOUSE MADNESS" is when I review films currently shown in theaters. Also, I rarely watch new releases in the cinemas, but when I do, there are always face-palming incidences that make me regret going. So humor me and let me tell you what I think before you waste your ticket money, while refreshing your memory of the ABCs of movie house etiquette!

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those movies which you think will suck so bad that you go to the cinemas expecting nothing more than the obligatory action, snarky characters, & CGI fest. Cliched and trying hard to be the next big Marvel blockbuster. A wham bham thank you mam kind of thing. But then you're proven wrong. And then it makes you happy and wanting more. It was so good that you let it slide when the guys behind you are constantly discussing the characters as if nobody else knows who they are. I didn't even have the urge (not once) to poke those people's eyes with a stick for coming in halfway through the movie with their flashlight on as if they're on a search and rescue mission. No. I was too busy being entertained by GotG. That's how good it was!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The first and only film by Ingmar Bergman that I've watched was Persona, and I remember being awed, at the same time confused, by it. It was truly a different cinematic experience and that sparked my passion to discover such kinds of films even more. My expectation for The Seventh Seal is, naturally, high.
Directed by:  Ingmar Bergman
Original Swedish Title: "Det sjunde inseglet"
Starring:  Max von Sydow, Bengt Ekerot
Cinematography:  Gunnar Fischer
Running Time:  96 mins
I'll make this short. Striking visuals, unforgettable characters, great cast - this film transports you to another dimension. But mid-way I was a bit torn between really liking this film or kicking it towards my "overrated artsy fartsy" list. At times, the actors felt so goofy in a juvenile way and I wondered, how is this really a masterpiece? Now before you question my intellect or taste, let me tell you that I'm all for weird, old films, and like I've said I loved my first Bergman. Even the weirdest of all weird Eraserhead  mesmerized me - and there's a lady in that guy's radiator I'm tellin' ya! This one, on the other hand, was so-so when it comes to holding my attention, but maybe it's because I was feeling hungry & distracted at midnight while watching.


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