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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Road

It seems that the horror genre has been left off since there were a handful of Filipino Horror movies which were released and did not make enough box office tickets to surpass the success of Feng Shui and Sukob. Villa Estrella is just one of those movies who are just both commercially and critically failed as a movie - Cinco is even worse. Shake, Rattle and Roll has failed to deliver the substance the series once have during those early years. In the upcoming MMFF, I will not be surprised that they will be releasing a new installment. With all the horror movies that has been released, they follow the same formula of scaring its audience and every time they do, moviegoers like me would already anticipate what will happen next and then lose the anticipation. With the release of another horror movie, we are hoping for something new, and it was delivered by an unlikely film producer - GMA Films.

I never believed in GMA Films in terms of how they work with movies. They have actors whom I am not familiar with, plots that seemed to be used again and again, and the same formula of cheesiness that makes me go cringe. They do not have a "few"" successful films, they only had one - Jose Rizal. What lacks this film company to come up with a decent movie is a good screenwriter and a skillful director who can transform what was written in a screenplay to appropriate images on screen. With "The Road," they hit the jackpot.

Written and directed by Yam Laranas, The Road follows the story of 2 missing children in 1998 and the mystery that surrounds the incident. The plot is simple yet Laranas was able to delve more with the story which has provided a very constructive story making its audience understand the whole scenario. While it depends mostly on flashbacks, it has provided a construe of events that makes it easier to feel the villain. 

While Laranas was able to establish a well-thought plot, he also has a way with the camera. Laranas' experience in Hollywood has paid off with the scenic shots, unconventional camera movements and a delicate eye with contrasts and colors. The actors were also commendable. I have seen Rhian Ramos act on television and she is different with this one. Some of the young actors like Barbie Fortaleza steals the scene from the others and provided a very concrete emotional prowess on her scenes. Carmina Villaroel played the antagonist's mother and Marvin Agustin as the father. Both of them are neurotic in the movie. While Carmina plays the extrovert neurotic, Marvin is the silent one. It really takes a good director to bring out the sleeping talents of these actors. Carmina played genuinely as the triggering factor to the whole scenario and for that she has delivered a sinister character. Alden Richards who played the villain demonstrated that acting is not measured on how you deliver your line but by how your eyes communicate with the audience. 

When I first heard about the movie, I had my thoughts. Seeing this movie, Laranas and his team was able to recreate a genre which has lost its essence. If you are the type of moviegoer who wants to scream the whole time, then this movie is not for you. It may have its scary moments but this film makes you care with the characters. 

The Road is definitely should be seen as a movie and not some cheap horror film which may provide the scream but has no logic whatsoever.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Feet 2

File:Happy Feet Two Poster.jpg
One of the greatest wonders of our films today is 3D animation. Ever since Pixar made Toy Story back in the 90s, it has developed so rapidly that we are currently enjoying this technology in its full potential. Along with Pixar's greatest films, there are some who managed to be at par with them. Back in 2006, Happy Feet was released and has garnered very positive reviews. What made the film so special is the theme of self-discovery and a very timely topic which concerns global warming. Happy Feet 2 is the follow up to the blockbuster and critically-acclaimed animated film.

Happy Feet 2 follows the story of Mumble and Gloria who are now the leaders of the Penguin Empire. They have a son named Eric who happens to have the same issue as Mumble during his childhood years. To make matters worse, the empire is also threatened by glaziers that are quickly melting which separated Mumble from Gloria and the rest of the Empire. It is up to Mumble to help the other penguin as all of them struggle for survival and at the same time winning his son's affection.

Mainly, the story sways too much of the things that are happening to the empire and somehow loses coherence on which is the ultimate conflict. It seems that the plot is all over place and the main reasons why the subplots are there just for the sole purpose to support the soundtrack. Much of it was centered mostly on survival at the end of the plot. The impact of the film would have been greater if the current climate change played a vital role in the plot - that would have been better. I also dislike the idea of putting Will and Bill's character into the movie since they do not affect to the plot whatsoever.

While the plot has been my main concern for the whole film, it has, on the other hand, was able to surpass expectations in their 3D animation. The colors were very bright and the details were intricate. The soundtrack was smart and was placed strategically in each scene. Pink served as Gloria's voice replacing the late Britanny Murphy and has provided a better and more powerful voice to the character. Elijah Wood seemed to be a little laid back with the character. Robin Williams is ever delightful in delivering his voice to the character while Sofia Vergara's Columbian accent is not annoying as it should be.

Happy Feet is both a delight to youngsters without dragging the parents or its adult audience. The film also contains some cute scenes that can make you go "aaaaw. "Although it is not as great as its predecessor, Happy Feet 2 manages to stand both in its two feet but barely hanging on.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1

I will not let this day be over without giving my insights with the latest installment of The Twilight Saga. Following the trend that Harry Potter has started - splitting a book into two movies, The Twilight Saga proved to be a copy cat of the latter. Call me bias but I also adore some characters of the Twilight Saga and that only include the Volturis, which I have seen only 3% of the entire film. Yes, they were there. I guess you were one of the 90% who went outside the cinema right after the ending credits started rolling, well, sucks for you, there were scenes in the middle of the credits.

Anyways, Breaking Dawn started where we were left off in Eclipse. Edward and Bella are planning to get married. Now that all three villains from Laurent's team were killed, the Volturis are the ones left in the scene that would put Bella in danger, however, another comes in when Bella got pregnant. Let us say that this movie is the less funnier version of Knocked Up but cheesier. The baby has four names, "thing", "fetus", Edward Jacob and Renesme. Ok, so much for combing names, we Filipinos are better in combining names. Just to be fair, I also hated Albus Severus but Renesme is just plain bad.

Breaking Dawn has its strengths. The choices of the locations where most of the scenes were shot are just amazing. The scenes with the werewolves are done with finesse and I am referring with the 3D animation. The soundtrack is just appropriate for scenes that needs its service.

One of my complaints as a viewer is that most of the scenes are overblown. The whole movie could have been compressed in 45 minutes and just go on with the 2nd part. Although, I agree that the part where Part 1 has left off is the most strategic place to leave a viewer in a cliffhanger.Breaking Dawn is the book that should have not been separated into two parts and somehow the decision to split it into two is shamelessly because it would collect more money from the viewing public. The attempt for characterization is there especially with Edward's part however, Bella seemed to fall apart and that it was very hard for me to feel the main reason why she wanted a child. One of the problem with this movie is that Kristen Stewart has not improve the way she acts and that cost the whole movie. But who pays attention to her anyway when most of the audience are teen girls who are there to swoon over Edward and Jacob. Guys who were dragged in the movie house may cringe and find themselves lost as to why this vampire film is just so hot.

Breaking Dawn maybe the hottest pancake these days but just like pancakes, they are just good while they are still hot. The film will never be able to match up with Vampire movies like Dracula or An  Interview with a Vampire. The book may be a literary success but the films are just plain bland. Still, its better than Twilight. By the way, where is Dakota Fanning when you need her?



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best of Archie/Pugad Baboy 23

One of the best places inside the mall is the bookstore. You might think I am the nerdy type but I don't go to the bookstore to look for books about Advanced Physics or Noetic Science, I go to bookstores because of my passion of reading novels and comic books.

I had my first encounter with Archie Comics back in 1992 when I had my visit to a dentist. I was waiting impatiently for the dentist to come when I first had a glance of a very curious looking little comic book in one of the shops near the clinic. Immediately, I asked my mom to buy one for me and she did. From that time on, I become an avid reader of Archie Comics. I have 5 Archie Comics by the end of that year courtesy of my aunt. After 19 years, I have 162 Archie Comics in my collection and still counting. I read them not only once and has been my childhood companion when I am bored, when I eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, when I just feel like reading one of Jughead's adventure with food and even during my private moments in the men's room. One of my frustration as a fan is that I never get to own any Best of the Americana Series of Archie Comics which usually showcases the best Archie Comic Strips of the decade (Americana Series are compiled according to decade) since our local bookstore does not have one. And so, when I came across with The Best of Archie Comics last week, I did not hesitate to buy the book.

The Best of Archie Comics is a compilation of one of the most memorable strips from the time it was published in the 30s up until this year. One of the highlights of the book is the first strip of Archie in Pep Comics #22. That was my first time to read the first strip and I imagine how readers accepted it. The strip is very detailed in terms of artwork. The story is simple and truly marks the typical Archie Comic strip that its fanbase really loved. This is the strip that marks the start of a strip that lasts until now.

This comic is both intended for its old readers and for those who wishes to embark on a journey with Archie and the Gang. One of the greatest wonders of this comic is that it has made a lot of teens be identified with its characters. With this compilation, it made me fall in love again with Archie and the rest of Riverdale's elite.

It was in 1992 when I discovered Archie, after 10 years, Pugad Baboy made its way on my coronary arteries where it clogged like cholesterol making me ask for more. Pol Medina Jr. was successful in making an obese community be an effective satire to the current trends in our country. The first strips were a bit bare and has greatly improved on the next compilations with intricate details which was greatly seen in Pugad Baboy 4-8. Sagas were part of the Pugad Baboy Legacy as they embark on different adventures but still injecting recent truths on the economic and political status of the country. What sets Pugad Baboy unique among the local comic industry is its subtle but fearless display of the author's opinion.

As Pugad Baboy reaches its 23rd compilation there has been a decrease in its "enjoyability" and Pol Medina seems to steer out of the usual humor which made its fan asking for more. There was less exposure for Brosia whom I adore among them, Polgas falls after her. Her wisecracks are what I have missed in the entire series. Although there were a few funny moments in the book, they are not as memorable as the previous early compilations. The book tried very hard to inform the public during the first 2 frames of a strip and inject humor in the last 2 frames like a misplaced car key in an ash tray. It seems that Pol is running out of ideas and must rest for 2 years to get the creative juices flowing once again.

This two guilty pleasures has been my companion for the past week and yes I enjoyed reading them more than once including the ones I already own. The pleasures of reading a book is indeed priceless for it does not allow you to enjoy but also to entice a dormant mind.

Best of Archie: A-
Pugad Baboy 23: B-

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Time

Hollywood is out of fresh, new ideas when it comes to originality. Concept is one of the vital part of a movie that would make its viewers interested with the movie. Inception was the last movie which I consider to be fresh. In Time is fresh but somehow there are some plots that seem to be vaguely familiar.

The movie stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Set in the near future where everyone is 25 years old forever. Once a person reaches his/her 25th birthday, a biological clock turns on which contains a year amount of time. Once the clock reaches to zero, the person dies. However, time can be bought thus prolonging a man's life. Time can also be acquired through work and has become a mode of payment for all the necessities, therefore it determines your financial status as well.

Justin, in this movie, is framed from a murder in which he did not commit. Seyfried is the daughter of one of the wealthiest man, having the possession of 1 million years in his vault, he is almost immortal. Seyfried robs his father and becomes the modern Robin Hood together with Timberlake.

The plot is simple and so easy to follow, the movie also seemed to have the feel of Robin Hood and Bonnie and Clyde. However, the main plot makes this film watchable. The main essence in which the filmmaker is trying to push through is from the most fundamental concept that Time is precious to be wasted. That time can easily be wasted but very hard to regain. I like the idea that time can be stolen that easily just like when you wait for a person and you still have things to do aside from waiting.

As for the actors, personally, I do not adore Justin as an actor and even in this movie he seemed to be monotonous. I think he has to exert more effort in conveying what he wants the audience to feel. Seyfried, on the other hand, plays the character well with her eyes.

This may not level with Inception in terms of grandeur, however, this is one movie worthy of your time. Surely, you won't have your time wasted sitting in a cinema watching this flick.