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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Yes, the Philippines get to see the movie first before America does. I was in shock when Aiza asked me if Narnia is already on the run, and I was about to reply, "No, of course not! It is scheduled to be shown here like months from now, like what happened with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." But my curiosity won over my doubt and checked for our local listings. And then, there I saw. Narnia in 3D. Then preceeded by 2 of the most beautiful words for any enthusiast. NOW SHOWING. And 2 more words just made it in my dictionary. IN 3D. I know it might sound silly, just try to understand a movie enthusiast such as myself.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the 3rd book among the 7 which was written by C.S. Lewis. A masterpiece on its own right, Voyage is an epic once transferred to a movie.  I wasn't able to read the book although I own an unabridged edition of the whole series. (I stopped reading after Prince Caspian). Now, I have every reason to read the whole book until the end of the series. I could not make any comparison between the difference of the book from the movie. This review however, will detail how I felt as a moviegoer and may be influenced by how I look on the previously released movies.

Voyage seemed lost the feeling of being a Hallmark-type of production. There was no extravagance in the opening scene unlike from the previous movies. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe made me feel like a kid again, Prince Caspian made me feel emotional and overwhelmed with its grand scenery and heart-wrenching closing song. Voyage, on the other hand, missed to capture the feel. The only part which they caught my being are the scenes with Aslan on it. Although, he looks more 3d-ish to me compared to the other 2 films and at one point, some of Lucy's scenes. 

What makes the series so special is its biblical parallelism. This is the core of the whole series. The identity of Aslan, the whole concept of the end of the world and Aslan's country, Narnia itself and the people and magical creatures that surrounds it. This is the strength of Voyage. Although some of the plots were wasted, this simple concept of Aslan rescues the movie. If they hadn't made it right, the movie would have been an utter failure. Aslan's words can still pierce the heart and can affect realizations or somewhat a reminder of what should not be forgotten. 

These downsides may contribute to a new director, Michael Apted, with Enough (J.Lo) and some other movies I have never heard of as part of his resume. He filled Voyage with action scenes that made me feel like I'm watching a mash-up of a Bond movie and Pirates of Caribbean. Another factor why I could not feel the magic is that this is produced by a new studio. Disney gave up Voyage due to budget concerns and Fox came into the rescue. With The Silver Chair coming into a close (if they still plan to make one), have Andrew Adamson assume the throne he was supposed to fill in. A word of advise to Andrew: "Don't ever leave a series after making the Second Movie. Look what happened to Shrek. Shrek suffered intolerable repetitive embarassment from other directors. Learn from it. And Disney, get the franchise back from Fox, they do not understand magic."   

My December was surely greeted by a wonderful surprise this year. Voyage, though lacking in some aspects, is still watchable in 3D due to its magnificent special effects. Listen to Aslan attentively when he speaks. He is the only sensible character in the movie.

GRADE: B

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

The end begins - as for me, it is the completion of a decade-long journey as a fan of the series. Yes. I am a Potter freak, and has been one for the past 10 years now. My literary journey with Harry Potter ended last 2007 with the release of Deathly Hallows, my cinematic journey on the hand ends on July 2011 and I had the best sneak peek of the finale just moments ago.

Part 1 helms the web of the previous 6 movies. It connects all the events that took place for the past 6 years of Harry's life as a wizard. It is therefore vital that each moviegoer should either read the books or watch the movies again from Sorcerer's Stone to Half-Blood Prince. If you just watched the movie for the first time, you might get lost.

Deathly Hallows, aside from Sorcerer's Stone, has been very faithful with the book. The sequence of events that took place are followed exactly from the book and that gives me satisfaction. The only part which I find somewhat neglected was when the Dursley's moved out from Privet Drive. There was no closure on their part. The scene where Harry revisits the cupboard which he once reside is a signal that indeed the franchise is coming to a close. The 7 Potters Scene makes a superb opening, though, I see Hagrid less in this part. And then Bill Weasley is introduced briefly (You know who he is). And then, they decided to kill Hedwig. Yes, all those who died in the book, dies in the movie.

Nothing is left out... as of this moment. I have yet to see Dumbledore's backstory. Aside from that, everything is just marvelous. I was really impressed on how they presented "The tale of the Three Brothers." Its like two books in one movie. I read Tales of Beetle the Bard and has been a fan since. If you are a legit Potter fanatic, it would be easy for you to make the ends meet.

Characters from the previous movies made revivals for a short time and then killed after a few minutes of screen time. What delighted me most is the return of Dobby. I remember him to be annoying back then with Chamber of Secrets, but somehow, he is adorable in this one. Imelda Staunton is back and she is such a sight.

I love Harry-Hermione moments in the movie. I love to see them do intimate things with each other without implying malice. I love Ron-Hermione moments too. Harry-Ginny moments are quite quick and inconclusive.

I never made a standing ovation for any movie except for this one. I do not find it embarrassing. I still feel overwhelmed with the movie that it becomes a torture on my part that I have yet to wait for another 7-8 months to see the conclusion of one of the best franchise in movie history.

GRADE: A+

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harry 5 and 6 Revisited

2 days from now, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will hit the screens. It is only fitting that we revisit the previous 2 movies that marked the end of the franchise. Enjoy my reviews on Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince... :)

but before that, i leave you with some juicy pics from the movie....

definitely can't wait anymore

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Revisited

Giga Fries. Check. Large Soda. Check. 1 bucket of Popcorn. Check. I guess I have everything I need. I had been waiting for 8 months since the release of Half Blood Prince has been delayed November of last year. I am breathless. I am full of anticipation. Before I went to see the movie, critics had been praising this 6th Installment of the Harry Potter Franchise and I am full of envy that they have to see it before I do. I remember when I first purchased the book way back 2005, I was first in line. I was there before the mall opened. No need to guess that I am indeed a Harry Potter Fanatic a.k.a Potter Geek! And proud!
The movie follows Harry’s 6th year at Hogwarts, and in this year the mystery behind Voldemort a.k.a. Tom Riddle a.k.a. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s past is discovered. However, the flashbacks were entirely insufficient. The Gaunt’s were not included, Voldemort’s meeting with Hufflepuff’s descendant, the fetching of Dumbledore at the Dursleys and why Snape called himself as the Half-Blood Prince,etc. Added material were included like the lady in the cafe, etc.
One that called my attention is the improvement on cinematography. It was like Cuaron is there. How the camera works is Cuaron’s signature. Various areas of Hogwarts present in the previous 5 movies were revisited such as Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse in Chamber of Secret. Colombus’ ceiling at the Great Hall is replicated once again in this movie. However, the flow of the movie is flawless and I couldn’t help myself to think that the finale is coming. I don’t want the movie to finish… yet.
Hormones are very high in this movie. Students seduce each other, kissing in the halls, in the bar and at the Room of Requirements, just like in the book. The lead actors aged a lot, particularly Emma watson. Daniel Radcliffe remain as stiff as he was in the previous movies and filled harry’s character with blank stares. The supporting cast did remarkably well. This includes Helena Bonham Carter’s deranged Bellatrix, Alan Rickman’s sinister Snape, Maggie Smith’s Professor MacGonagall but most the most notable performance are Jim Broadbent’s Horace Slughorn and finally, a calmer and poised Dumbledore portrayed by Michael Gambon.
The finale, which is the death of Dumbledore which spanned from the Battle at the Cave to the top of the Astronomy tower, Gambon’s Dumbledore feels so human, so fatherlike that his death feels like you have lost your own father. A drop of tear or two commenced as I realized how great his love for Harry and for the entire school was realized. This has been a definite Potter movie to keep. It makes me look forward to its end on 2010 and 2011 which is not a very far future at all. This 6th installment turned the Potter series an epic to watch and helped David Yates go back on his feet after the disappointing Order of the Phoenix. I can say, David Yates, you may proceed to direct Deathly Hallows as long as Screenwriter Steve Kloves is with you.
By far, the best Harry Potter film following Prisoner of Azkaban just right behind it.
GRADE: A

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Revisited

1 week before the movie was shown in theaters, I read the book for me to refresh my mind of what were the significant events of the book. July 11, 2007 marks the beginning of the end of the Potter series, and sad to say that there will be more deaths in the upcoming movies. The book was by far the longest book of the entire series and focused more on the individualization of the chaacters - there was character development - there was an in-depth look of the emotions of the characters concerned.
OOTP, the movie, was supposed to exceed my expectations. But then...

Again, we are brought back to Potter’s world, a world where magic is both a delight to those who view it so, and a horror to those who were maligned by it. The Dursleys are back after being absent from Movie 4. We see Dudley once more and the Dementors. Ms. Arabella Figg makes an appearance - and her cats as well. The whole plot of the movie is how would Harry and the Order to convince Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, that You-Know-Who, aka Voldemort, is back, literally. That was the whole essence of both the movie and the book.
OOTP is now directed by David Yates, this is his first Full-Length Movie. This is the biggest mistake Heyday Films has committed: Putting a neophyte on a such grand movie. Yate’s resume only extends to a made for TV movie which was shown on HBO, thats it. He wasn’t able to capture the feeling of Harry Potter which was present in all of the 4 previous films. Instead, he resorts on using all the techniques used by other directors: 1.) The glass transitions which was used first by Alfonso Cuaron; 2.) The scenic shots by Michael Newell; 3.) and the aerial shots of Christopher Columbus. These were all used but then, the results are disastrous. There was no originality behind it. Nothing.
Many of the readers of the books may have watched the movie to see how would they translate the events that took place in the Department of Mysteries; the duels of the Order against the Death Eaters; the death of Harry’s godfather, Sirius; and most of all, Dumbledore’s fight with Voldemort and the disclosure of the Prophecy, which is the most important part (supposed to be!) in the movie. The Finale, though filled with amazing special effects is very bland. Everything just went through that a non-reader would find himself completely lost.The death of Sirius Black was reduced to a silent scream from Harry, mostly, it would work, but not with this one. It worked in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where Galdalf dies, but not with this one. There were no vanishing acts with Voldemort and Dumbledore’s fight; no interference from the statues, no duel from Sirius and Bellatrix, she just scream Avada Kedavra and Sirius went though the veil and dies. There was no drama in his death.
Screenplay plays a vital role in making a movie. It is the blue-print which guides the director on what to shoot at. This is the first movie in which Steve Kloves was not the one who wrote the screenplay for the Potter series. There was a new man for the job and I believe that he has made a very rought script. I can forgive the alterations and I feel sorry for Cho Chang for getting the blame of revealing Dumbledore’s Army (in the book, it was Marietta, Chang’s friend, who told Umbridge about the DA meetings). What I could not forgive is that the movie is made out of clusters of events that are not well-crafted. Yes, the 4 previous movies are also made of these clusters, but then, there is coherence behind it, and in OOTP, it seems that there are events that just jumps one into another. It is a good thing that Steve Kloves will be back for Half-Blood Prince.
The acting improved for the Trio, but we see less of Ron though. I commend for the portrayal of Professor Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange, these are exactly what I pictured out of who they are. I certainly hoped that Umbridge has more bitchin’ in the movie, she was certainly more "hatable" in the book than in the movie, in which I view her more like a comic character than hateful. Harry’s character has only 1/4 of the anguished and anger featured in the book, but then, who can we blame if this is what the producers want.
The questions remains unanswered. How could JK Rowling leave her marvelous book to these mongrels who has not have any Potter blood flowing through their veins? Couldn’t they make a new movie for this, just for its sake? Rowling, don’t let this happen to Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. I still have little faith left in the movies. Don’t let it end up in the garbage.
GRADE: B-

Friday, October 22, 2010

Piranha 3D

3D movies are so rampant. When a trailer comes out, you will be expecting that the movie will be on its 3D format. When I saw Piranha's first trailer, I was not wrong. Yes, it is in 3d. The fun in watching this movie is that, these horrible creatures are within your grasp.

Piranha is a remake of the classic movie of the same name. I am not familiar with the first one which makes it hard for me to make a comparison. Anyway, the movie's plot concerns the arrival of this meat-eating fishes after a quake rocked the town. Mysteriously, certain number of people disappeared in the middle of the lake where these creatures live. What makes the scenario even more complicated is "Spring Break." Uncontrolled raging hormones played a vital role on the development of the plot. Of course, piranhas can cause a lot of trouble especially if their victims are teenagers who happens to have impaired hearing due to alcohol intoxication.

Chrsistopher Lloyd makes a cameo. It seems to me, he is not over the Dr. Emett Brown character from Back to the Future,and he looks so old.

Visually, Piranha succeeds as a thriller. The scenes where piranha's attacking their subjects are enhanced with 3D. Piranha succeeds as being the 1st 3D soft porn in hollywood. What can you expect during a Spring Break? You know what I mean. Its within reach!

During the whole course of the movie, I feel like I am a kid again. (Considering that there were only 3-5 people inside the cinema) I had the liberation to curse inside the theater without being hushed. I enjoy the characters stupidity. I enjoyed how their bodies separate into two ways. I enjoyed the things I see in 3D (wink, wink).

Piranha 3D is a delight visually, but still it has the generic of a monster thriller. Too bad, I saw the movie on its final run... Lucky for me, Boohoo for you.

GRADE: B

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Lion King

Rarely did Iloilo see a play with much extravagance and Iloilo Prima Galaw delivers a stage worthy of our eyes to see. IPG (formerly Cultural Club back in my college days) is a group of Ilonggo artists summoned to provide the Ilonggo people with the entertainment that other organizations did not risk to present. For years now, they have staged Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and prior to the Lion King, Professor Tuko, which tackled a very sensible matter that is education in our country. Now, they come back with a more ambitious project that is The Lion King.


Based from the Walt Disney Classic and the broadway musical of the same name, The Lion King is about the coming of age of a lion named Simba as he tackles royalties most common problem, the threat of having their thrones usurped by either people (in this case, animals) outside the royal family or even close relatives. We are all familiar of Simba, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon's advebtures through Pride land. Who hasn't? I myself grew up watching this cartoons and with this, sufficient expectations were marked up when a production of a beloved Walt Disney Classic is conceived.


The play started strong as their rendition of the epic Circle of Life was delivered well and the parade of the animals was welcomed with fascination and ended with a well deserved applause. We see familiar characters light up the stage and everyone was really waiting for the coming of Timon and Pumbaa, who came out in the 2nd Act of the Play. While watching the play, I could not help myself but, of course, compare with the movie I saw for the nth time. The sets were breath-taking and it was placed strategically to accommodate the scenes in the play. Lights are used well and there were some problems with the audio at times but was remedied anyways. The costumes were ingenious and I was really impressed with Pumbaa and Timon's costumes. 


The play will never be successful if not for the actors who portray their characters well. The child who played the young Simba is a gem. He lights up the screen with his impressive diction, well-versed portrayal and surprisingly, a good voice. One of the notable characters portrayed there are of Zazu's, Ontong's Hyena (I can't recall the name), Timon and Pumbaa. Nikko Chua as Simba generates a very surprising entrance, although I felt something that somehow lacked in some of the scenes. I could've appreciated his character more if he sticked to the calm and soothing voice Simba has in the movie, but then he delivered well too. His acting prowess is seen in the entire play. DJ Ong's Mufasa is strong as the character would require and delivered it with mastery. The comic relief that Timon and Pumbaa provided was not that obvious during the first minutes but they manage to nail it in the end. Nala is vibrant and provided the gentleness and firmness of the character. What really stole the show is SCAR. His delivery is both sinister and classy. The accent is perfect and each word is delivered with pure evil .

Directed by Romie John Delariarte, The Lion King is another successful production from Iloilo's prized artists, The Iloilo Prima Galaw. This indeed show that even in our local setting we can make entertainment that could compete on other plays in Manila. I can't wait for IPG's next production. KUDOS!



GRADE: A

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Expendables/Tekken

I lost my faith on movie stars like Stallone, Willis, etc, a long time ago. When I heard that a movie like the Expendables will be released this summer, I was like, WTF?! That would have cost a fortune with a stellar cast like this, and these are not just actors, but the type that would kill for them to be seen in every frame.It took me a week before I decided to watch the movie, and a week to make a review out of it. And in this unproductive day that I have, I decided to make it a wee bit productive in making this review so as not to disappoint my fans (if I have any).

Stallone leads the movie, not only as the actor but also as a Scriptwriter, Producer and Director, and what would you expect, he will be in every single frame of it. Along with him are Lundgren (did i spell it right?), Statham, Rourke and Li which should have more scenes than he deserve. They are an elite group designed to kill, for a price. And with every action movie, somebody betrays them. Classic. They were then offered a job to free a country from a dictator and then the rest is up to for you to watch.

The expendables is oozing with testosterone but not the type which the Twilight Series has, but the right kind of testosterone. This is old school action flick and it is a breath of fresh air to see this type of movie shown again. Old school yet with a touch of our generation. The film contains violence but not that extreme since some of them  were cut off from the movie to avoid the R-18 rating. Willis and Arnie are there but they appear only as cameos. Maybe Stallone could not afford their fees.

The summer is usually packed with action flicks and Tekken seemed to be perfect for the season. The game has been around for too long and I am a bit surprised that it was released too soon. I mean, how long has it been since the cinemas were showing the trailer? A month? Few might have known that there would be a movie and most of the people who have known this may actually be surprised or dismiss this movie. I myself have seen it in the comforts of my own bed after I was supplied with a DVD copy, clearer than the ones shown in SM City. (I don't want to say this, but I don't really like the way cinemas in SM looks like or how their sound system sounds like).

We know Jin and the Gang, and Tekken the movie did deliver. The heroes are there except for Panda, Mokujin, etc. The signature moves are well displayed and I bet none of the fans will be disappointed about this. Story-wise, the same recycled Hollywood story. Mother gets killed, son seeks for revenge, enters a tournament, tries to win the tournament, sees a girl, falls in love, kidnapped by the organizer of the fight, and in the championship game, he ends up fighting the organizer and wins. Clap clap.

Watch the movie to see your characters light up the screen with the moves you usually do with a button. Don't get disappointed with the story, the whole production crew is too busy to copy the game that they disregard the story - just as long as they all fight. It is supposed to go that way, right?

GRADE:
THE EXPENDABLES: B
TEKKEN: B-

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Salt

When Angelina Jolie came out as Tomb Raider almost a decade ago, she was a blooming flower trying to establish a name on the action genre, and women made her an icon, an image of a strong woman yet still display the affection and charm of the human feminine.


Yes, she made a lot of action movies in the past but almost all of them are forgettable – she’s better off in portraying dramatic roles, but then, who could resist a hot chick that can kick some ass. No one.


Salt is all about espionage. Jolie is Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who was framed to be A Russian spy off to kill the Vice President of Russia. So what? The plot is so common that one would assume they have seen everything. As the movie progresses, the plot thickens and everything seems to be unsure. Is Salt the protagonist, antagonist or a pivotal character? And for most good versus evil movies, you know what will happen next and what could be the trigger for such a change: Love. Yeah! Cheesy it might sound, but yes, Laahhvv…


It is in Salt that Jolie clearly states that even for a 30+ year old chick with babies in a carriage can really kick hard. She is much tougher than James Bond in this film. Cool, savvy and sometimes reckless but hot. She walks the same road that Sigourney Weaver once treads. She looks too thin in this movie which makes her a little too old but what the heck, it’s a good movie with good action scenes. The freeway scene is as good as the one seen in Matrix Reloaded, with exception of the flying, of course. Seasoned as she is, Jolie makes a believer out of me.

Step back James Bond, someone is tougher than you are… and it’s a girl.


GRADE: B+

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inception

Christopher Nolan comes back with a movie that seems to defy current trend in Hollywood movies, but did he  deliver? When the trailer for inception went out, it holds a promise to the viewers that this would be different, this would be unique, this would be an inception of a new idea in terms of filmaking. When Nolan was given the chance to make a reboot of the otherwise failed franchise of Batman, everyone is in doubt if he would make the unbelievers of the franchise to be believers that there is indeed hope for Batman to rise again in the darkness, and he did. Now the pressure is on for Nolan as he ventures to another movie that seems to promise that there is hope for a movie industry who happens to have recycled each idea one movie to another.

Inception is a story of Cobb, who happens to be a maven in stealing ideas through the subconscious. Everything went into a topsy turvy when a billionaire offered him something he won't refuse: redemption. It was then he assembled a team to make the mission possible but this time it was not to steal an idea, rather to impose an idea.

The complexity of the story is most likely to be compared with the idea of the Matrix, but deeper. The principle of how deep is the rabbit hole is the very definition of the movie as it explores the depth of the human mind seen in dreams. This is not merely a display of Nolan's ability to make a complex maze and makes its viewers understand the whole complexity of it into a simpler tone. The emotional struggle of the lead was made into existence without even making it so obvious. The spontaneity of the flow of the plot was flawless and like a puzzle, it simply fits.

As a whole, the movie requires the viewer to be ready, both physical and mental. It is imperative that one should eat before watching this to give your mind enough energy to burn as one tries to understand what is going on. A second viewing might also be put into consideration if one would like to fully understand the movie. Prepare 1 unit of Packed RBC to be transfused once epistaxis occurs as you watch the movie. This is one movie that one should never miss. Ever.

GRADE: A+

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Toy Chest Box

Trilogies seem to be a fad right now. But very few had lived up to its name and outmatched their predecessors. When Toy Story came out in 1995 (?), it was an innovation. It became the first full-length 3D animated movie. Everyone was raving about this new movie making technique. Toy Story not only succeeded in terms of technology but it also captured the hearts of moviegoers. This is the legacy that Pixar has started. When Toy Story 2 came out, I was not ecstatic with it. It's good but it didn't have that WOW factor. It is a movie. Period.

Years went by. We never anticipated that a sequel would be in the works, but apparently, it did. I was in Manila when Toy Story 3 went out and I decided to watch in Imax 3d. Yup, IMAX! Although it costs 400php, I was not disappointed. 


We were again transported back into Andy's Room filled with our beloved toys, Woody, Buzz, Mr and Mrs. Potato, Slick, etc. We saw how Andy grew up and how the toys are finally feeling rejection from their owner. Now that Andy is going away for college, the toys now are abandoned in a Toy Box which was never opened for quite a long time and some of then must suffer the fate of being thrown away, be donated or rot in the attic and they chose the obvious option - attic. The toys feels so "geriatric" when they agreed to be in the attic, as long as they were together. But then, plans changed when accidentally, the toys were mistaken as garbage and then the 2nd best option is to be donated. That is how they end up in Sunnyside Day Care. It was there when they meet Lotso who made matters worse.

There were new characters in the movie which are lovable. Lotsa is the perfect poisoned honey for a villain and some new additions like Ken, etc.

Toy Story 3 aged a lot. This one does not rely on humor alone to enchant its audiences. It's not how the camera works that makes this movie so deep, rather, the movie relied much on its story. Although when the plot was first set in the first 20 minutes of the film, I was amazed on how the story went through without making it sound so far fetched. A lot of movies started right during the first part of the film but come tumbling down at the end trying to fit in a very complicated story and conflicts, Toy Story wasn't. It remained strong as the conflicts unfolded. It explores the deep emotion that are present on these abandoned toys. Though it is represented in such medium, the emotions that were implored in the movie applies to us as humans.

Who can deny that scene where the toys faces oblivion as they were about to be incinerated were one of the most powerful scenes in the movie? It was heart wrenching to see such scene that I really cared like I was a 4 year old losing my own toys. But the last 10 minutes was the most sadistic part of the movie when you have to fight back the tears so as not to embarrass yourself. Giving up things that were part most of your life is indeed hard, and when Woody was unexpectedly placed in the donation box, Andy was reluctant in giving him up but then.... He did. The long dead silence was far more enough to put everyone in Emo-mode, but it reached it's peak when all his toys were lined up in the porch of its new owner as Andy drives away to college.

Toy Story 3 is a bitter-sweet ending to a series which made a mark in my childhood. The movie is enchanting and lovely in its own right. 

GRADE: A+

p.s. Day and Night, the short movie before Toy Story, is such a good metaphor in presenting individual differences and how we can still make the ends meet....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Karate Kid kicks some ass

I could not make any comparison with the old one since I haven't seen the previous version before watching this one even though HBO made a lot of efforts rerunning the movie for the nth time, I simply don't have the time. I know, I am not up-to-date at this moment - I have been busy (?). I was in Davao when this movie was released in cinemas and decided that I go watch this here in Iloilo instead since I allotted my time mostly for sight-seeings.

When Smith was casted as the new Karate Kid, I found it risky since the original one is white. Fans may be outraged with this change, but come on, we have to give this kid a chance, he was good in The Pursuit of Happyness, right? Smith is the son of one of Hollywood's finest actors, Will Smith, and it seems that he had inherited his father's quirkiness. Jaden Smith is a fresh actor and delivers well in any emotion he is required. His comic timing is just right, I was even surprised that he can cry. He is one of the bankable child star of his time, although no one can top Dakota Fanning. 

Jackie Chan is a revelation in this movie. He does not do so much of a comic. In this movie, he is an actor. This movie liberates Jackie Chan from his usual type of movies and he becomes a deep actor with prowess in which he can boast of. I like him in this movie. He is not too light and not too heavy, he is "human" in this one. He is flawed and therefore human.

What makes this movie so good is its ability to make yourself be involved with it. It makes you care with the characters in it. From the time Dre and his mother went to China, the bullying of his classmates, the affection he developed with one of the Chinese kids and until the training. The movie deserves its 2 hour run for a "zero-to-hero" type of movie. It allowed character development. 

The movie can stand on its own feet. It has its own magic. It has its own message to be delivered.


GRADE: A-

note: Michelle Yeoh is the uncredited actress portraying the scene with the woman with the cobra... nice right?




Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Of Knights and Ogres


Okay, I may have missed some blogs but here it is. First things first. After being alone for quite some time now, I have sought refuge in my once considered lair - the cinema, and without hesitation, I watched alone and decided to view Shrek Forever After.

When Shrek was released back in the early 2000, it made a very big hit because of its ingenious plot of using various cartoon and fairy tale characters and made them in perfect synch. When Shrek 2 went out, it was phenomenal. The story, the characters, the humor and the music. I was quite overwhelmed with the film that I watched it countless times. It was in Shrek the Third when fairytale land came crashing by. That movie was a disaster. Less humor, less appealing music, same old and angry ogre.Just like in Shrek 4, Shrek becomes tiresome of the usual day to day activities leading him to ultimately take destiny and fate within his very big ogre hands... and so am I. There was nothing new with the material, well, except of course, the Piper. That and nothing else. Watching it in 3D also kinda helped the movie uplift somehow but if you are talking about the over-all impact of the movie... Naaah... Its a good thing they ended the series. If they try to reboot it, then have Andrew Adamson back as the director.

On other stories, moments ago, I just finished viewing Robin Hood after 2 weeks of waiting. I was really hoping that it will be released the same time as in Manila. And so, with childish eagerness, I sped up to Robinsons and watched Robin Hood. The films started and after 1 hour, it seems that there is nothing going on. Its like a history lesson gone wrong with a bad teacher and considering that Ridley Scott directs the film, the one that I adore when he made Hannibal and Gladiator, i was expecting more. I was expecting blood and gore in the movie but i was disappointed. The blood was not even convincing, it's more like a ketchup diluted with too much water. Anyway, when Robin Hood was announced by King John that he was indeed an outlaw, the film ended. What???!! This is all I am having? I need more. I need more of Robin Hood. This is just an epilogue of some kind? You could have jammed it up in just 30 minutes. Crap. This movie made Walt Disney's version more pleasurable to watch with men in my age.

Oh, I saw Prince of Persia last week too and I decided not to make a lengthy review, its not worth the spaces of my page.

GRADE:
Shrek 4: C+
Robin Hood: C
Prince of Persia: D

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts of An Undecided Voter


It is barely 2 weeks from now and it is Election Day. I know, what is the fuss with this day? Everyone knows that the possibility of this election being rigged is very high, but of course, everyone has to be in a bandwagon. The choices are endless and the names become more and more unfamiliar. The list of senators is even more confusing than before. The most popular ones seem to have backed off and have given the “unpopular” ones to at least a taste of how dirty politics would feel like. Well, Revilla is still there, so is Drilon, Santiago, and… Wait I have to gasp for air: Laaahpid. Ok, Lapid.
But then, the main show goes to the Presidential Race. Who among these contenders deserve my vote? Let us try to investigate.

Jamby Madrigal – I was so shocked that she ran for president. Having been the “pasang-awa” in the senatorial race, this gal has still the guts to run and hope to win. It really seems idiotic that though you have full knowledge that people might not vote for you, one still has to run. And for Madrigal’s case, come on, you have lots of money, but it is not a good way to spend it. If you are going for the poker, always make sure you would win. This goes to the independent ones too. I don’t want to be negative to this candidates, but it is such a waste of time and money to run. Invest first in making yourselves known to the people, and that would take a long time to do it. But then, the efforts will always be rewarding at the end.

Dick Gordon – He was in disaster areas during Christmas, led Subic very well, and a Red Crosser. Well, he has pretty done much of a work, but I wouldn’t want a president with a short temper and is not shy to show it national television. So, crossed out.

Eddie Villanueva – for the second time around, he was destined to be the “ONE.” Like Keannu Reeves in the Matrix. Wake up Bro. Eddie, this is the real world. People don’t get Matrix-y so easily. I believe in his stand on the government, and he has every intention to do good because he is answerable to the Big Guy upstairs and when he screws up, he’ll end up probably in hell. Word of Advice, try saving more souls, the afterlife is far more important than this one.

Nicanor Perlas – and so an Ilonggo tries to woo the Philippines to become the next president. Not bad. He seems to be credible until…I knew he was a divorcee. Morality still plays a vital role in choosing a president. We wouldn’t want someone with such marital status as a president or we end up waking up one morning with the Divorce Law passed right before our noses.

Joseph Estrada – and so here goes again. An unending loop of what Philippine politics are known of. And so, we marched last February 2001 to oust this president and then here he comes again running for the same position he was thrown out. One question: How would we know that you won’t screw up this time? Picking the right friends? I don’t want to be on the same situation like before. Just like romance, screw me once, just once, please. We have moved on. Please do so, too.

Gilbert Teodoro – Oh, him?  I doubt that he would win. But then, I am considering voting for him, however, he is from the administration, an administration which seems to be reluctant in endorsing him. Is this a political strategy so as not to damage his ranking in the surveys? The surname Arroyo seems to be bringing a virus to whichever name it was attached with. Remember Villaroyo? I pity Manny Villar, he wasn’t able to recover from that. The surname is so powerful it can be placed in a Witch’s Spellbook, never to be touched or open again along with the lines “I am Sorry.” Okay, Teodoro seems to be the best bet yet, however, some factors might hold me from voting for him. One, Manny Villar, Two, Manny Villar, 3, Manny Villar, and the long list continue.

Manny Villar – And so, I have seen him leading the airwaves from almost a year now. With his campaign ads where he saves a number of OFW’s from their “masters” signaled the start of his campaign. Then comes the jingle which rattled my head for 4 months. Then, he invaded facebook. Then, youtube. Then every possible media where he can put his face. And before that, his occasional appearance in Wowowee giving out houses which stand on land-grabbed areas from the farmers who used to live and make a living out of it. And then came the house, and the dead brother, and worst of all, the children. My goal for this election is to stop Villar from winning by either giving my vote to Teodoro or Aquino. Just like what happened last May 2004 elections in which I have to choose the lesser evil.No, Not Manny Villar.

Noynoy Aquino – fresh from the wake of his dead mother, former President Cory Aquino, comes the knight in shining armor in the person of “Noynoy.” So what if he is the son of the former president, it doesn’t mean he had inherited all of her mother’s genes. Noynoy is not yet ripe. It’s like eating a bright yellow-mango, only to discover that it was still not ripe by the time your teeth sinks into it. He was pushed by the hype made by the people which sparked the hope for a better Philippines for Noynoy. He has also the Luisita tragedy which brings the balance beam a little lower than I expect.  He’s leading the polls, does it mean I have to give my vote to Gibo?

JC Delos Reyes – I don’t know you.

Vetellano Acosta – I don’t know you too.

At the end of the end, I must also choose, but what I am looking for the president is when one of them answers my question on their stand on Reproductive Health Bill, environmental concerns and Nursing legislations and concerns. That is it. But then, if I really, really don’t want Villar to win, either I give my vote to Noynoy or Gibo. So tell me, which one should I choose?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random Pics


these are just some of the pictures I took using my camera phone and/or digital camera.....
this one was taken on the streets of manila.. this was not photoshopped.


this one was taken at the iloilo river using my digital camera



this one with my camera phone.

Just keep on posted... more to come....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Love Drunk




They say love is mysterious. It comes in different ways, even the unconventional ones. As I watch the video presentations of Mayad Studios, I came across a very unusual love story. The couple met in a very unusual way. If some couples were matched in a party or even on blind dates, this one would put a shame on the most romantic movies, for the boy met the girl of his dreams while he was riding down an escalator. Yes, you read it right, an escalator. The time he saw the girl, there is this some cosmic force which drew him to her. After six years, he proposed on the same escalator where he met her. How lovely.

I never believe in such love stories. Those stories only happen in movies. Those are just fantasies made by hopeless romantics just to satisfy their hunger for true romance. But then fate plays a game on me and made eat my words. I never believe in hurried romances. I don't believe that sparks flew in midair in just hours of intense conversation, but in my case, it did, and to make it more specific, 6 hours. It all started with a very deep conversation and unknowingly, the gentle touch sparked into a kiss and then cupid banged my head so hard it reached the depths of my heart. 22 months later, we are still here. The first few months was a struggle and I have to shed a lot of tears but then it was worth it.

I realized that in a span of 22 months, I have grown an equivalent of 10 years in terms of maturity. I never experienced having my pride to be so low I forgot about it. That when we had a fight, even if it was not my fault, I would put myself (my pride) down. I never realized that I can be unselfish. That I can give almost everything for the person. I even surprised myself.

People would tell, don't give everything, leave some for yourself. I also give advises that is similar to the latter but when it is given to you, and you are completely "love drunk," your world becomes entirely yours and become deaf and blinded of everything else which is both good and bad. I realized that there must be a balance in everything especially in relationships.

We broke up a lot of times and got back after 2 hours of being apart. The longest was 2 days. I realized that "When the heart breaks, it don't break even." One turns out to be miserable and the other simply does not react to the situation but in that span of time, I learned to adapt.

Happiness is indeed a choice. Do not regret for whatever you give to a person. Do not think that you should have deserved better. Maybe the other person needed it more than you do.

This is not an advise column. It is more of an outlet. I know some of you can relate with this. We all have loved someone and has given all our best to show them the affection. Some of us got hurt but then, we were a better person, we were a better lover.

Love is so deep that even though we feel it, we still look for its defining nature. The search for it continues to be pursued but then love is love. Love is a journey that both couples should embark and can never find its true meaning if one is left behind. I am still in this journey and I am loving it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pientora Studios

This is my Studio ID. The name Pientora came in a dream. My Studio Id was once known as GFP Pictures and after that dream, I changed to what it is now.... The ID is simple.... Enjoy



video

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pientora Studios

video

Just one of the videos I made.. More to come.. This was made last 2006 during the 25th wedding anniversary of my parents....... For those interested... Please contact me via my Facebook Account ---> mavin_r@yahoo.com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010)

It seems that I am expanding more in terms of Blogs, and so, for my opener, I will review Clash of the Titans.

3D movies are a hit nowadays. It is a good thing that even here in our local theaters in Iloilo has 3D theaters on it. I was ecstatic whe I heard that there will be a Clash of the Titans movie that will be released in 3D, however, such ecstatic was replaced by doubt when I first read Ebert's review when he saw the movie in 3D and described it unworthy to be watched in such. And so, I decided that I will watch the movie in its regular format - 2D.

I am filled with anticipation since the trailer holds a promise with its viewers that indeed we are in a treat. I heard about the 1981 version and I spared myself from watching it and instead watched it after the 2010 version.

I know we are bombarded right now with Greek myth-related movies such as Percy Jackson but hell anyway, I have to watch this. And so, I watched. Checked my watch every once in a while. Bad omen. Checked my phone almost every 5 minutes. Worse. I am getting bored. I know I shouldn't be but I can’t help it.

The opening visuals are stunning and might probably work in 3D. Some of the scenes that were shot were specifically made in 3D. Imagination helps. However, as the movie progresses, there are some scenes where the camera moves too much that (through my imagination) watching it in 3D might cause me headaches. Visually, it is an eye candy, however, I am not really a fan of how Medusa looks like, the way Pegasus looks like. I don’t want to be racist or something, but I think Pegasus would look better if he were in white.

How the movie differs from the 1981 version is very obvious. They changed some of the plot from the original that makes it more intriguing and more engaging. They made the new version more updated although they failed to surpass the original. The original has depth in terms of plot, the new one is like Perseus is there but I do not really care what will happen to him.

Sam Worthington comes back in the genre that made his name – Eye Candy movies. If you would follow his filmography, he was a part cyborg-part human in Terminator: Salvation, the guy in Avatar and now Perseus. He seems to be everywhere, but said to say, I don’t really approve a Greek in an Aussie accent.

The movie is somewhat a disappointment but nevertheless, a movie that can even spark a little interest… Just a little.

GRADE: B-

Shutter Island

I know it takes a long time before movies, especially the good ones, are shown here in the Philippines, so again, I opten to see this movie in the comfort of my room with a bootleg copy. I know, its wrong, but can you blame me?

Shutter Island is based from the novel by Dennis Lehane and this film is directed by none other than Martin Scorsese and was accompanied (again!) by Leonardo diCaprio. It seems that this director and this actor cannot be separated just like Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Anyways, this movie deals with Ted Daniels (DiCaprio) going to an asylum to investigate a case of a missing “patient.” Together with him is Chuck Aule played by Mark Ruffalo who seems to be, well, nice. Nothing more. As they investigate, Daniels learns more of the facility but his own tragic past as well.

The movie started creepy, and it continued until the end of the movie. Fantastic sets and locations. The mood was set perfectly and in the first frame, one will admit that they are in a unpredictable yet engaging movie. The pacing is quite engaging yet there were dragging scenes which happens to be the important ones. The emotional journey of its primary character were presented with depth and were involving. Scorsese is out to do good movies and with this one… He did.

GRADE: A-