Sunday, January 26, 2014

Belle, Beast, being different, and a lot of ranting

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie. Why I fell in love with it as a kid, I'm not too sure now, but it's probably because of the fascinating characters, the music, the mysterious "enchanted castle" & its master, Belle, and of course - the library. That sense of amazement & slight envy that I've felt is something that was etched in my mind and my heart for a very long time.

Until now, one of my biggest dreams is to have my very own library. Sigh.

Now, fifteen or twenty years later I finally re-watch this and wow what a trip! The first thing I notice is how beautiful Beauty and the Beast is. That opening sequence is amazing. The animation, the colors, the imagery - it looks really sophisticated, something that you don't always see in this age of modern animation. 

Then Belle started singing on her way to the town. And memories came crashing down on me like a tidal wave. It felt so good that I turned on the subtitles and sang along. I rarely do that. Only when I'm watching The Sound of Music. It gave me chills listening to that song as an adult and understand the words.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Frozen (2013): Oh how times are changing!

Finally, a progressive princess movie that has caught up with the times. 

I grew up watching Disney cartoons and while I love my 90s princesses, I have never thought about emulating them (except Belle, I mean who wouldn't want to be her after Beast gave her that library??? *chills*). My point is, even as a kid I already knew how lame these girls were. Weak damsels-in-distress, submissive little fools who only sang about finding their Prince Charming (Mulan's reflection might scowl in disapproval.. Pocahontas somberly nodding her head while painting with all the colors of the wind). Times have changed. Disney really needed a revamp. And with the increased rate in divorce, teenage elopement, and unplanned pregnancies, don't you think it's about time this generation sees a 21st-century princess? Seriously. 

And that's why I love Frozen(Sorry, I haven't watched Brave yet. *EDIT:  I've watched Brave, and yes, it's also something about an independent female who refuses to bow down to society's expectations. And I love it. But it focuses more on the mother-daughter angle, while Frozen also has its own storyline.) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

August: Osage County (2013)

A black comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family with a penchant for dining table hysterics.

"Eat your fish, bitch!"

Directed by:  John Wells (The Company Men)
Written by:  Tracy Letts
Music by:  Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain, Babel)
Cinematography by:  Adriano Goldman
Editing by:  Stephen Mirione (Traffic)
Running Time:  120 mins
Budget:  $20 million
Box Office: over $24 million

In one scene where Violet (Streep) was running away from the car (where to, I don't know.) - just watching her running - just running - and Roberts finally catching up and telling her "There's no place to go." suddenly gave me that feeling of wanting to be an actress. Not for the fame or glamor, but to live forever because she will be watched & admired by generations to come. Damn it MERYL STREEP IS GONNA LIVE FOREVER! This woman is so great she gave me the "feels" just by running! C'mon! Give this lady an Oscar! She probably won't win though. Too bad, she is incredibly fascinating in this movie. That can also be said about Julia Roberts. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

A compelling drama and a pulse-pounding thriller that was given more depth & relevance because of Tom Hanks' notable performance - subtle, controlled... until you see him break down. 

"The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years."
Directed by:  Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy)
Starring:  Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Written by:  Billy Ray (The Hunger Games)
Based on:  A Captain's Duty (Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty)
Music by:  Henry Jackman (Wreck-it Ralph)
Cinematography by:  Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker)
Editing by:  Christopher Rouse (The Bourne Ultimatum)
Running Time:  133 mins
Budget:  $55 million
Box Office:  over $214 million

This film received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi. Abdi received numerous nominations for his role as pirate leader, Abduwali Muse, and deservingly so. I think he delivered a very good performance considering he was sharing the same screen with Tom Hanks. Surprisingly, Hanks, despite his solid portrayal as the titular character, wasn't included in the final list of Best Actor nominees - a questionable deed especially after seeing that goosebumps-inducing, heartstrings-tugging performance he did in that finale! Understandable though, because there are better performances given by other actors. 

Seriously though, Tom Hanks is in his best form. Despite his calm demeanor all throughout his character's ordeal, you can see his fear & struggles through his eyes. This man is awesome.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All About Eve (1950)

A self-important critic, an aging star, a cuththroat newbie, a writer & his wife, a ditzy starlet - a perfect recipe for trouble in the world of entertainment. 

 All About Eve is basically a peep in the world of theater (or Hollywood for that matter) with all its stereotypical characters and all the maneuvering they do just to stay where they are or get ahead in the business - it's a mean, mean world.

Written & Directed by:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter To Three Wives)
Starring:  Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm
Music by:  Alfred Newman (The Best of Everything)
Cinematography by:  Milton R. Krasner (Three Coins in the Fountain)
Editing by:  Barbara McLean (Wilson)
Running Time:  138 mins
Budget:  $1.4 million
Box Office: $8.4 million

"Margo is a great star, a true star. She never was or will be anything less or anything else." Such words can be said to Bette Davis as well. I have loved her in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (click link for my review) and as I slowly discover her films, it becomes apparent to me that she is one of the greatest actresses ever. I love her. It's funny because I have only seen three movies of her and yet my idolatry is already worthy of another tablet-throwing Moses-tantrum. Thank god Claudette Colbert had to withdraw from the project, as much as I respect her, I don't think she would have done what Davis did to this role.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

On The Job (2013)

I can't wait for the Hollywood remake, not because I think they will make a better OTJ (nah! this one is already perfect.) but I'm just excited to see a well-deserving Filipino movie recognized and introduced to a bigger audience. Universal Pictures already acquired the rights for OTJ and the remake will be written, directed, and produced by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns), with Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as a possible casting choice for the role of Tatang.

Directed by:  Erik Matti (Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, Rigodon)
Written by:  Michiko Yamamoto, Erik Matti
Music by:  Erwin Romulo
Cinematography:  Francis Ricardo Buhay III
Editing by:  Jay Halili
Running Time:  121 mins

From start, to the heart-pounding climax, up until the final scene, I was enthralled. 

This movie is beautiful despite the fact that it depicts the dirtier aspects of our country - geographically, politically, socially speaking. Seriously, this movie is perfect for me. I was actually speechless for most parts. Just superb. 

Four highlights. Gerald Anderson. Given that it's a bit of a stretch how such a pretty boy mestizo can be cast as an inmate/assassin, still, he shone as an adorable fledgling under the wings of Tatang. With just the right amount of grit & bravado his character needs, Anderson managed to convince us he is right for the role. Joey Marquez. I can't believe how vital his portrayal is to this movie. He could easily be mistaken as a miscast, but then we will be wrong. He brings in a subtle comic relief as well as some father-son scenes that will tug at your heartstrings, and it's so damn good to watch. One of his best performances I've seen (though I haven't seen a lot). Leo Martinez. There are no small roles, only small actors. And he's definitely not a small actor. He embraced his role, plain and simple. Joel Torre. I don't even need to say how good an actor Joel is, we all know that. But Jesus H. Christ he is GOD in here! Two scenes that gave me chills: In the climax/ending, just before he went out of jail, and after he went out. O_O

There's maybe one thing that I didn't like - the sex scenes. Halfway through I smiled and said to myself "it's nice to see a movie of this genre with no sexual scenes at all." Spoke too soon didn't I? I just thought it wasn't needed at all.

In conclusion, this movie is a must-see for everybody. I wish I see more of this in mainstream Pinoy cinemas. Everything is well put together, the music is exciting, the editing and cinematography is professionally done, the story is tight, the camerawork is engaging (a work of art, a labor of love. It's that good), the opening scene captures your attention, and the ending leaves you satisfied (or wanting more). It's a great cinematic experience. 

I have nothing else to say except...  


My Rating: maybe a 4.5, but I'm giving it a 5/5 - one of the best local films I've seen and definitely a favorite. 

YOUR POINT OF VIEW: Who are your casting choices for the Hollywood remake?

LIKE, Share or Follow my blog, it may not change the world but it will change mine LOL :)

Follow me on Tumblr! Ravings of a Madwoman
To my fellow bookworms, add me on Goodreads: Lucresia Strange

SHORT FILM: Order of the Ram (2013)

I was offered by Scott Lyus to do a review of his latest indie short film and I'm more than happy to oblige.


Order of the Ram is a 16-minute horror short film that tells the story of Mary, a girl that finds herself tied up in a dense wood, and face to face with a satanic cult intent on calling upon their Master by whatever means possible.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

10,000 Hours of Political Motives

Ever since Mr. Palengke (Mar Roxas) messed up big time, PNoy decided to change his pet - choosing Sen. Ping Lacson instead, building him up to be the next 2016 presidentiable (that is, according to Sen. Miriam. lol.). And now we have this movie with a main protagonist played by Robin Padilla which is supposedly Lacson-inspired and is depicted as a loyal, country-loving hero. Genius. 

10,000 Hours is by far one of the best campaign ads I've seen. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

QUICKIES: The Smiths before & 7 years later, and The Usual Suspects

Either I'm too lazy at the moment, or the movie does not deserve a full review. Here are my straight-to-the-point reviews, QUICKIES if you will, of AFTER EARTH, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, and THE USUAL SUSPECTS.

The hunt for courage, happyness, and Keyser Soze.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nag-PAGPAG ka ba? (Siyam na Buhay na walang kabuhay-buhay)

"Hindi ba ako mukhang seryoso?? Mukha ba akong natatawa??" Yan ang maangas na sabi ni Daniel Padilla, a.k.a. Cedric the action star, sa kanyang feeling girlfriend. "HINDI. MUKHA KANG KAHOY." ang buong bitterness ko na pagbulong sa katabi ko. Ewan ko kung anong meron ang batang ire at bakit ubod siya ng sikat. First time ko siyang napanood at isang salita lang ang gustong sambitin ng aking mga mapupulang labi.... WORKSHOP. Halatang idol na idol si Uncle Binoe at kung makapag-jacket wagas (baka may supply galing kay Willie). Hinihintay ko na nga lang na mag-vest siya ala-Maging Sino Ka Man. O_O

Mapapalampas ko pa sana ang napakawalang kwentang acting ni Daniel kung maganda ang pelikula. Pero hindi eh. Ang sakit. Ang sakit sa ulo. 

Halos buong cast gusto kong itapon sa bangin sa katawa-tawang acting. At least si Kathryn Bernardo may talento naman. Si Janus Del Prado consistent sa pagiging lasssheng, in fairness sa kanya. Pero kahit na mahusay si Janus sa ginampanang role, parang sumobra naman ang pagiging comic relief niya at tila nakalimutan na ata ng director na horror movie ito. Medyo nagcaclash lang kasi ang ibang eksena sa biglang pagpapatawa ni Tsong. Di bale, kahit naman hindi siya magpatawa, hindi talaga kaseryo-seryoso itong pelikulang ito. Gusto kong ipagpag ng ipagpag na para bang nagdidikitang dandruff sa itim kong blouse.

Sa kabilang banda, pansin ko rin naman na maganda ang cinematography at pagkaka-edit ng pelikula. Ayos din na hindi puro CGI ang ginawang effects, maliban na lang sa pagkarami-raming fake na usok na halatang nag-enjoy gawin ng Special Effects dude (tribute siguro sa usok ng Maynila). Hindi rin boring ang galaw ng camera unlike sa mga typikal na pinoy movies na sukat ang bawat anggulo. Mala-indie kumbaga, pero hanggang dun nalang yon. Ito ang pelikula na hindi ako napasigaw sa takot. Sa tawa (hindi dahil sa nakakatawa), oo. Sa yamot, malamang. Kahit pagkagulat man lang wala. Paano ka naman matatakot eh halos kulay blue na ang mga multo. Smurfs lang? Parang multong pang-Vic Sotto na movie. Nakakatawa.

Hinding-hindi sumagi sa isip ko na sasabihin ko to, pero sa kalagitnaan ng pelikula sinabi ko sa kaibigan ko na "Parang na-miss ko tuloy si Kris Aquino sa horror movies." At yun guys ang sukdulan. Naglolokohan na lang ba tayo tuwing film festival? Umaasa na lang ba talaga ang mga producer sa mga mang-mang na trip ng masa tuwing kapaskuhan at forever na lang ba tayong nanakawan ng nakolektang aginaldo? Ewan ko kung bitter lang ako o OA lang ang mga nanonood pero talagang sigaw kung sigaw at halakhak sa mga "scare tactics" at punchlines ang mga nanonood habang kami naman ng mga kaibigan ko tingin ng tingin sa orasan. Ewan talaga.

Mabuti na lang talaga at libre lang kaming nakanood (una sa lahat hindi naman ako magbabayad ng P140 para sa basurang MMFF line up na to) - salamat sa complimentary tickets na bigay ng asawa ng boss ng kaibigan ko na galing ata sa mayor (ewan ko kung si Erap o kung sino pang Ejercito na mayor) na ewan ko ba kung nanay niya o tatay. Basta. Thank you. At thank you Ate Tess (na hiyang-hiya makitang pumipila sa ticket booth ng MMFF movies) dahil napasaya mo kami sa mga donya expressions mo, at Kris para sa pag-imbita mo sa amin sa unforgettable movie experience na to.

My Rating: 0.5/5 (o sige na nga 1/5 na. Para sa teknikal na aspeto) - Horror ang ine-expect ko pero comedy pala ang pinasukan namin. Siguraduhing mag-pagpag pagkatapos ninyong manood nito. Baka buong taon sumunod sa inyo ang multo ng mga walang kwentang pelikula.

LIKE, Share or Follow my blog, it may not change the world but it will change mine LOL :)

Follow me on Tumblr! Ravings of a Madwoman
To my fellow bookworms, add me on Goodreads: Lucresia Strange

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson, what have you done?)

Going beyond two movies for a 300-page book... lies the greatest danger of all.

This may be actually the first time that I'll complain of an adaptation (of a book that I love) being unnecessarily prolonged. Seriously, a trilogy? Of one little book? While the first installment was enjoyable though in a juvenile way, it becomes apparent in Desolation of Smaug the fillers that Peter Jackson has to add just to make the main plot last all the way to the third installment. And that irks me. It really does. It would have been kick-ass if it was a two-part adaptation, but a trilogy it never should have been. 

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.
Directed by:  Peter Jackson
Screenplay by:  Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro
Music by:  Howard Shore (LOTR, The Aviator, High Fidelity)
Cinematography by:  Andrew Lesnie (LOTR, I Am Legend)
Editing by:  Jabez Olssen (The Lovely Bones)
Running Time:  161 mins
Budget:  $225 million
Box Office: over $600 million


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...