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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 10 Themes from Animated Movies

For the past 20 years, animated movies has been a companion even in my adult years. It seems really hard to part with it. There will always be a child in me. Together with these good animated films are great themes. Some are still popular and has lived throughout time. What is a movie without a theme song right? And so here is my list of the most loved songs seen in Animated Movies.

10. Kiss The Girl (The Little Mermaid)
- one of the most beautiful songs sang in this movie while Ariel and Prince Eric are having a wonderful afternoon in the river. Desperate for that kiss that will make Ariel human permanently, Sebastian the crab decided to take the matters in his own hands with this lovely song.

9. Circle of Life (The Lion King)
- the famous opening of the epic that was The Lion King. The majesty of the film is seen in the first few frames and the hype is not lukewarm until the end.

8. At The Beginning (Anastasia)
- probably one of the most famous songs given by lovers or friends. it simply tells us how important people are to people.

7. When You Believe (Prince of Egypt)
- this powerful song from the animated film about Moses was sung no other by two of the most powerful voices in Hollywood. This Carey and Houston collaboration is well received by many and even a great song to sing in competitions.

6. You'll Be in my Heart (Tarzan)
- Phil Collins wrote all the songs for this movie which transcends a theme of acceptance and love. This song is as powerful as Strangers Like Me among others. This is such a personal song which makes it very relatable.

5. A Whole New World (Aladdin)
- Sung by one of Philippine's great talents, Lea Salonga, A whole new World made waves in the 90s along with the success of the film. The fantasy of being in a magic carpet came along with this song. 

4. Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast)
- winner of Oscar's Best Song Award, this powerhouse duet from Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion wowed everyone. "Tale as old as time" can never be forgotten. This song was also played during the scene where Beast and Belle danced in the hall marked with incredible camera work which is new for an animated film.

3. Someone's Waiting For You (The Rescuers)
- this is one of the most heartfelt songs ever sung in a movie. Although The rescuers may not be as popular as any of the Disney film, this song may have survived the test of time. 

2. Somewhere Out There (An American Tail)
- Don Bluth's film about a mouse trying to find his American Dream is one of the most heart breaking film there is. Together with it, is a heart breaking song about being far away from loved ones.

1. If We Hold On Together (Land Before Time)
- this Diana Ross classic is the theme for the most dramatic animated film ever made. Set in the prehistoric times, Land Before Time tells the story of Little Foot and his friends as they journey to the Great Valley, the last surviving paradise after the great earthquake. The song is nothing but fitting to the film's plot. The song became one of the most popular songs ever made aside from The Wizard of Oz's Somewhere Over The Rainbow


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoilers, read at your own risk

2005 was the year Batman was reborn from the ashes that Joel Schumacher left. It was then that the interest for the Caped Crusader was reignited. It also gained new followers for the hero himself. When Batman Begins was released, it was then that the hope for the trashed franchised is revived and that there is a brighter future for Batman. When The Dark Knight was released in 2008, we see how it evolved not only to cater the eye-candy loving viewers but to entice us with an engaging plot and 3-Dimensional characters which was not even made, not until the The Dark Knight. After 4 years, Christopher Nolan comes back for the end of his Batman Trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises.

Catching up with what was left in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent is still the hero acknowledge by Gotham while the Batman takes the blame and becomes the villain which caused him to stay in the shadows, hidden from the city he protects. Set 8 years after the Joker killings, Bane conquers Gotham bringing with him the terror of nuclear power. While the Batman is busy with Bane, a cat burglar Selina Kyle is also making the matters worse. Batman confronts Bane which eventually led to the demise of Batman.

The movie started slow, however, it was able to pick up the pace. The Dark Knight Rises plays around with the plot without really making it too complicated for the viewer to understand. This could be the strength of the film entirely. Making an unconventional superhero movie that defies the generics of all superheros. We can see how Gotham collapsed in the midst of the problems, we see how broken they were in the inside that they were easily corrupted. That is the reason behind Harvey Dent. The people needs to believe there is still good in them that hold to the idea dearly. Bane, on the other hand, is the one who slapped everyone in the face by letting the people control the city by giving them unrelenting freedom. Batman and the rest of good guys are what was left of the integrity the city holds.

I was surprised on how was Bane portrayed as a character in this film. He does not only reflect a very strong physical character but also played in mental terms. He is not only a "doing" villain but a "thinking" villain as well. This is one of the greatest achievement of Nolan as a writer for the franchise, delivering to us villains that we understand as to why they are in that state of madness.

Batman is still the flawed character who is still confused on his role in the society. As Alfred has pointed out, Gotham does not need Batman but Bruce Wayne who can do more good than the Caped Crusader. With the, his character is even more intensified and has broaden his perspective aside from being an eccentric billionaire. Anne Hathaway portrayed a rather surprising turn in this film, making The Dark Knight Rises an obvious statement that she is no longer the princess we first saw in The Princess Diaries. Although she did not actually portrayed the character as Catwoman in the film, she delivered so well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played John Blake, a rookie in the police who was later on recognized as one of the prominent characters in the series.

I became a believer of Nolan since The Prestige. His ability to provide an engaging story and plot is his strength as a filmmaker. Nolan was the best thing that ever happened to the Batman franchise. It is a first that a serious adaptation was made for a Batman movie. We admire him when he rebooted the franchise so well, but it is in the second installment that he gained the respect of every moviegoer. As for The Dark Knight Rises, he made sure that the script or the plot will not be compromised.

As Nolan bows down for the series, a question is left with the viewers: Are we really ready for end of this franchise? In my own opinion, no. I walked out of the theater hoping that in the next 5 years or so, Nolan will continue to tell us a story of a hero who does not possess any powers - only strength, wit and determination.




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top 5 Cause of Death in Filipino Movies

For years we have been given a dose of Sharon, Vilma and Nora Aunor's dramas and we have been journeyed a lot of familiar plots. For this Top 5 list, we will see what are the main causes of deaths in these type of movies. Let see if they fit your list too.

5. Confrontations
- Confrontations can lead to a various spin of events. Although Confrontations would be a predisposing actor or just a potential threat to all the characters, this has been linked to the increasing number of mortality among the characters in Pinoy movies. Watch out for moments like: "Pero Papa! Mahal ko siya!" and then the father answers, "Hindi maari! Kalaban natin ang pamilya nila. Hindi maaring maghalo ang dugo ng Montelibano at Javier!" The daughter storms out of the room, but before she gets to close the door, she looks back at her distraught father and say, "Magtatanan kami, mahal namin ang isa't-sa and walang makakapigil sa aming dalawa." This brings us to the next cause of death.

4. Heart Attack
- One of the most common cause of deaths brought about by sudden sadness or even happiness. Even the healthiest of human beings in Pinoy movies can easily contract the disease like flu. It seems that with a simple spread of news, either good or bad can cause heart attacks to unsuspecting movie character. Most of its victims are the elderly that is why, writers should be more careful in writing how to break out the news to these group of people. You will never know, their disease is asymptomatic. Usually, this is linked to excessive shouting, crying and even happiness when his or her child wins anything in a contest. Usually done is slow-mo which could beat Keannu Reeve's Matrix moves.

3. Cancer
- This has been common in the 90s and early 200s. One of the signs and symptoms of this disease is sudden headache or coughing. Since TB is not a viable disease to kill off the character since the discovery of Penicillin, Cancer is a great alternative, after all it kills you slowly and it adds more drama to the story. We seldom see people survive this disease, however it is fitting so that the leads can have more time to be in the camera trying to cry as pretty as they can.

2. Vehicular Accident
- Beware of your cars when you are having a very big confrontation, they are not to be trusted during these time. It is known to have some kind of a jinx when you just had a huge fight with somebody. Do not drive crying because it impairs your vision that may cause your death. Do not run across the street while crying since your peripheral vision is impaired. Do not try to drive after the person who just left you, you might just get a taste of the jinx I was telling you about. 

1. Stairs
- The traitor. The least that you will expect to cause your death. It may fracture you but in Pinoy movies, once you fall down the stairs you are proclaimed dead on the spot. When you are in the mood for a fight always avoid the stairs, or better yet, avoid the second floor of your house. Make sure to place cushions in your stairs. If you were pushed, grab something to stop you from falling. To really avoid this type of death, buy a house which does not have any second floor and did not require flights of stairs. Pregnant women be cautious with stair, the mistress of your husband may storm in your house and have a confrontation and you end up falling in the stairs killing you or the baby or even the both of you.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

I have been a Spiderman fan since I was a kid. The fantasy became a reality back in 2002 when Sam Raimi released the first Spider-Man film with Tobey Maguire behind the red and blue spandex and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. The casting was perfect right from Peter to Mary Jane, Uncle Ben and Aunt May. When the second installment was released, it was one of the best sequels ever made for a superhero movie, second only to Nolan's The Dark Knight. There was a sense of being with all the conflicts going on to Peter as he tries to balance everything while saving New York from Dock Ock. Due to the success of the second film, Raimi was in deep pressure to upstage the previous installment with the third chapter opting him to bring in 3 villains at the same time which compromised the whole story. But even with a lackluster 3rd installment, Spiderman is still one of the best superhero trilogies ever made. 5 years after Spider-Man was seen spinning his web in the streets of Ney York, he is back with a new set of actors and a director with only one film behind his name.

Spider-Man brings back the origin of the friendly neighborhood superhero, how he came into being and become who he is. There were a lot of changes to fit the story line. He meets Gwen Stacy and become his love interest. Dr. Connors was not his teacher in this film, rather he is a scientist working for Oscorp. Osborne did not make any appearance in the film. Peter does not have a bestfriend making him a loner in this film. Spider-Man fans will feel that there a lot of missing pieces in the film. There are a lot of elements that were injected in the film carelessly. There are no wisecrack from J. Jonah Jameson. Peter does not struggle making a living for them. The film missed the essence of Peter's character. In this film, he is not the Peter who has to be multitasker rather he is the Peter that is only pre-occupied with love and the struggle to avenge the death of his Uncle Ben.

The villain lacks the motivation to become the bad guy since he is not robbed of anything by society however unleashes revenge to the city. The madness Lizard had was unconventional but not believable. The film also tackled Peter's parents which was not even mention in Raimi's Spider-Man. Comic book readers know that Peter's parents were killed in an airplane crash and was known to be enemies of the state after they were framed as spies for The Red Skull, in the film, it was different. 

I like how Andrew Garfield played Peter Parker as the nerdy type by actions and not only words which lacked in Maguire's Spiderman. I hate his suit especially the mask. Emma Stone was cast perfectly as Gwen Stacy, sweet and lovable. I don't think that Sally Field is the right part for Aunt May, Field's Aunt May is so strong unlike Rosemary Harris' portrayal which is more motherly and frail just like in the comic books.

Marc Webb made Spider-Man a superhero movie with elements of high school and puppy love and you can see that he is great in conveying those scene especially during the school hallways scene with Parker and Stacy. The action scenes are great. The first person perspective while Spidey is swinging and crawling in New York is awesome. However, Webb seemed not to understand Spidey's world and how important are the elements which were left out.

The Amazing Spider-Man may be rebooted too soon. Marc Webb may not be the perfect director to helm this reboot and there were a lot of casting issues but at least he made the webbing right.


PS. Stan Lee made his best cameo in this film


Magic Mike

I never knew Channing Tatum can dance. I never heard of him not until GI Joe. It was Shamaine who told me about him being in the Step Up series, either way, I'm not interested. This year, he will be starring in another GI Joe flick and a film about stripping. Based from his experiences as a stripper before he landed in Hollywood, Magic Mike tackles their life and struggles as a dancer while they try to live life as normal as possible... And so I thought.

Magic Mike tells the story about Adam and Mike as they become superstars of a club designed to titillate women with their sexy moves. The club is managed and headed by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) who also play as a stripper. They have everything, money, women and a lot of fun only to be made complicated by drugs.

This flick is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for his works on Oceans Eleven, Traffic and Contagion. He had his hits and few misses like Solaris but over-all he is a well capable director. I believe he misses the hit with Magic Mike. While the movie boasts enticing dance routines, it does not do well with the storytelling. The characters lacked the motivation as to why they are part of the business. The conflicts are too shallow and absurd at time. Channing is one dimensional in this film and did not deliver what the viewers are asking: WHY. Alex Pettyfer has a poorly driven character that is forgettable. The characters may have grown in the film very slow and also very little. Matthew McConaughey has the weirdest performance of his entire career. 

Magic Mike is a film that can be or can't be missed. If you are a Tatum or Pettyfer fan, then it is a worth of your time but if you are looking for something out of the box, the movie will fail you. It stays safe and sometimes dull but then who knows, you might even forget the story when they started dancing. Bring a teddy bear, your female companions should have something to pinch while watching this, if not, prepare to have bruises in your arm.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remembering Dolphy

Rodolfo Vera Quizon, also known as Dolphy, has been around for so long when I discovered him as a kid. It was in 1992 when I first encountered him through television with his show Home Along Da Riles. It is only 3 hours ago when it was announced that he passed away due to complications of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

There is nothing much to say about this man since his legacy speaks about the life he lead for 83 years. He was known as John Puruntong by the 60s and 70s kid but for a 90s kid like me, he is known to me as Kevin Kosme, a widowed man trying to make a living for his children in the slums of Manila railways. This is how I see Dolphy: sympathetic, kind-hearted and funny.

The legacy he has left the entertainment industry is indeed considered immortal and should be treated with utmost respect. For more than 60 years, he has made every Filipino laugh, making us forget the problems we face and look at the brighter side. Dolphy will always be a funny man to us but most of all a person who has passion to his craft.

Rest in Peace Pidol. You will be surely missed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Top 10 Movie Quotes

When we watch movies, we are usually very critical with the lines uttered by the characters. It is vital that the script speaks of the emotions and the theme the movie wishes to carry to its audience. Over the years, there were a lot of memorable lines from our favorite movies and has been a subject of parodies and "remakes." Let us go back to the famous movie lines that marked as the years go by. Here is my list of the Top 10 Movie Quotes.

10. "Not my daughter, you bitch!" - Molly Weasley (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 2011)
- one of the most anticipated scene in the second part of the last installment of the series is how they would translate the words written in the pages of JK Rowling's book during the battle of Hogwarts. This scene showed how strong Molly's character is as she battles Bellatrix Lestrange. The effect of these words are so dramatic especially in a battle scene.

9. "ET, phone home" - ET (E.T., 1982)
- when ET was stranded in our planet, he was first taken care of 3 children. During his stay, he was able to learn a few things about us even our language, and eventually made this dialogue true to his need to go home. And yes, Drew Barrymore is very cute in this movie.

8. "I see dead people" - Cole Sear (The Sixth Sense, 1999)
- Creepiest line ever made. One of the strength of this is that, it came from a child and children can sometime be creepy. Haley Joel Osment was very effective in setting the mood with this as he confess to Bruce Willis the source of his problem.

7. "Hasta la Vista, baby" - The Terminator (Terminator 2, 1991)
- Arnie never gets old with this one. It was popular back in the 90s and almost everyone is saying this. I can still remember when Filipino action movies would say this line every time they would kill the bad guy, but nobody can do it better than Arnie himself.

6. "I'm the king of the world!" - Jack Dawson (Titanic, 1998)
- watching Titanic for the 3rd time after 5 years would made you realize that the script for this film is very cheesy, yet, this is the formula that worked for the film making it the All Time Top Grossing movie until Avatar took its place. This line though showed how hopeful Jack's character is as his dreams of going back home is finally realized aboard the unsinkable ship.

5. "My precious" - Gollum (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2003)
- Although Gollum said this line in the first installment, it is in The Towers that he was formally introduced as a character. When Gollum had the ring, this is his immortal words.

4. "There's no place like home" - Dorothy (Wizard of Oz, 1939)
- Yup, indeed, there is no place like home. The film has a list of really great lines and I picked up one of the most beautiful line. When Dorothy woke up from her dream of OZ, she sees familiar faces and finally before the end credits roll, she uttered one of the most popular lines from the film.

3. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" - Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind, 1939)
- This could be one of the most hurtful lines ever said in the big screen. This scene was the turning point of the 3 hour drama of Scarlet and Rhett's love story as Rhett finally gives up on the woman he loves. Running to the door, Rhett finally slams this line against Scarlet's face and walks away.

2. "Bond. James Bond" - James Bond (Dr. No, 1962)
- The line that made James Bond a household name. This line has been made to every Bond movie since 1962, making it a total of 23 movies. Sean Connery was the first among all the actors who portrayed Bond, and yes, it one of the best way to introduce yourself.

1. "No, I am your father" - Darth Vader (Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
- Looking back as a kid, watching the Empire Strikes Back unfold its story, this turning point of the film is the highlight of all the 6 Star Wars movie ever made. The shock in Luke Skywalker when Darth Vader, their nemesis, told him the truth is priceless, and so are the viewers. Who would have thought that this would be outcome of the story. It must be very hard for fans not to talk about so as not to spoil the film to other moviegoers. But then, this line tops this list because of the timing of how this was delivered in the film.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Top 5 Trilogies

What does Neo, Frodo, Susan, and Bruce Wayne have in common? They are all part of a trilogy. A great franchise is usually a result of a good storyline and artistic take on the concept at hand. With the release of The Dark Knight Rises, it is a no-brainer that The Dark Knight Series will claim its spot on one of the best Trilogies ever made. Christopher Nolan treated the dark crusader's concept to a higher bar and thus  its success. And so, here is my list of the greatest Trilogies ever made.

5. Toy Story
-When Toy Story 1 came out, it became the revolutionary film that turned the animated industry upside  down. This film pioneered 3D Animation and did not only a success in the box office but also with the critics with its ingenuity and wit. Toy Story 2 came out as strong as the first movie delivering very strong characters and improved animation. It ended in 2010 with the release of the Toy Story 3 which showed that the series is not worn out but rather came out with a surprising twist at the end. Every child followed Woody, Buzz and his friends just like growing up as a kid like Andy did.

4. Spiderman
- Sam Raimi helmed a well crafted film about the friendly wall crawling superhero to life. A feat that may be impossible to fill. There were a few changes with Spiderman's features, however, this did not affect the film. It was the flawed character of Peter Parker that made this film "relatable" and realistic. The strongest film of the trilogy was the 2nd one where Peter becomes worned out of balancing his secret identity, love, career, family and school. Although the 3rd film suffered from poor writing due to the addition of 3 or more characters, the film still is an epic.

3. Back to the Future
- One of the trilogies that would hold you back into your seat. Back To The Future is a roller coaster ride involving time travel. The film stars Michael J. Fox in his pre-Parkinson state and Christopher Lloyd as Doc. What makes this trilogy likable is the twist and turns that happens throughout the film. The adrenaline is there.  It made it viewers more curious of how would they alter the past and how it would affect the future. The central theme of the film is Cause and Effect, and the way it was presented as a film, it was quite enjoyable and effective at the same time.

2. Star Wars (The Original Trilogy)
- The film that launched George Lucas star up to the galaxy is a trilogy that has stirred the viewing masses with its engaging special effects, memorable characters and one of the most shocking revelation in motion picture history. Comparing this to the Prequel saga, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is far more superior, story-wise and acting wise. Star Wars will always be one of the best films, leaving us that there is something to look after somewhere in a far, far away galaxy.

1. Lord of the Rings
- Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga about Middle Earth tops this list of the greatest trilogies ever made. The book is complex and elaborate that many has predicted that this would be impossible to be seen in the silverscreen. However, a brave soul named Peter Jackson proved the impossible to be possible. When The Fellowship of The Ring came out, lovers of the book is ready to scrutinize and criticize Jackson's work but end up worshiping the director for its most faithful adaptation. When Two Towers was released, everyone is in awe as we see the battle of Rohan against the 10000 Urukhais. However, Return of the King saved the best for last as it turned out to be the epic ending to a saga that made us believe once more with Kings and wizards and elves and magic.