Yasujiro Ozu: Tourists who visit his grave honor him by leaving alcoholic drinks by his grave. He was a known alcohol lover.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Yasujiro Ozu: Tourists who visit his grave honor him by leaving alcoholic drinks by his grave. He was a known alcohol lover.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Prior to a hysterectomy (an operation that removes a diseased uterus) due to a tumor, Violeta Langit (Eugene Domingo) wants to bear a child. But being a hopeless virgin, finding the willing sperm donor becomes an impossible task. Her best friend, barangay captain Mandy (John Lapus) – who’s as gay as every Liza Minelli impersonator – consents to sleep with her. But the deal proved too ghastly to consummate. So, Mandy offers his boytoy forward – the eternally cash-strapped Carlo (played by delectable Diether Ocampo) for the baby-making job. But Carlo instead flies off with a chunk of Violy’s fortunes.
Sixteen years later, Violy is enjoying a thriving business as an encoffineer a la Yojiro Takita’s “Departure” – she prepares deceased people for burial by making them look “beautiful”. Violy is now mother to triplets: Peachy and Strawberry (both played by Andi Eigenmann) and Dingdong (played by AJ Perez). Trouble appears when the children insist on knowing their father's identity! And much like fabricated fantasies, Carlo miraculously returns for his belated apologies, and to correct his past grievances.
As a matter of spicing up the broth, we have side stories about the impossibly effete Mandy fathering a child Greg (Aaron Villaflor) from one night of drunken indiscretion (with Sheree); Andi Eigenmann doing an “Agua Bendita” with the hammy Carl Guevarra; the handsome and belligerent AJ Perez carrying a torch for Carla Abellana (as the aspiring actress Mimi).
"Mamarazzi" is a busy film with too much irrelevant narrative strains, and characters – like Greg and Oscar’s (Aaron Villaflor and Xian Lim) closeted, budding love affair. But then what do we expect from a Joel Lamangan comedy?
Director Lamangan can’t muster anything but tawdry, tasteless caricatures to delineate gay characters outside of his political dramas, and though he may think of them as homage to the 3rd kind, Lamangan actually does a disservice to the pink community by painting them less human; depicting them as oddball characters. Mere laughing stock! In Lamangan comedies, gay people are reduced to eccentric oddities of society. For someone who’s actually gay like Lamangan, this underscores the extent of his directorial insight – a vision as hollow as a fortune teller’s “bolang kristal”.
Eugene Domingo makes the most of her scenes, but something in the script feels tired. She has always been a reliable comic actress, and her verbal tussle with John Lapus is on perfect show in “Mamarazzi”. We weren't pleased with Lapus in “Here Comes the Bride” but he does a lot better here where he isn’t tasked to portray a straight horny geriatric (which was excruciating to watch). When Lapus and Domingo share the screen, they lighten up the otherwise banal scenes, conjured from the resplendent imagination of (hold your breath) Ricky Lee!
Some punch lines were too tacky, even from Ms. Domingo’s gargantuan talent: “Gusto mo ng kadugo, tawagan ko si Rosa Rosal!” - or - “Puro punebre ang cassette ko sa bahay.” – or “Habang may patay, may pag-asa.” Even her Nora Aunor impersonation (when she finds a returning Diether) were gratingly gag-inducing.
When Diether asks John Lapus for money, the latter replies, “Ano bang tingin mo sa akin, dyowa or ATM?” Diether shots back with, “Di ba pwedeng pagsabayin?” Humirit pa.
When Diether excuses himself for the toilet in mid-foreplay, the latter quips, “Nakakaihi talaga ang beauty ko.”
While conversing with Lapus at a restaurant, she places her order to a waiter, “Ako coffee, s’ya mouthwash!” You see, some of these gags are too hackneyed to be appreciated.
Finally, something has to be said about Carl Guevarra’s horrible performance here. Though it’s doubtful anyone would complain about his screen presence, his vocal delivery belies any promise of an acting future. It isn’t too expensive to enroll him at a speech and elocution class, is it? He needs to modulate his voice and summon an assertive delivery, as he comes off like a 9 year old girl! He was supposed to play the part of a brainy paramour to Andi Eigenmann’s encyclopedic countenance. He was made to spout scientific names of stuff, like roses - down to their taxonomic nomenclature, but he couldn’t even mouth the words coherently. It was painful to watch him. Joel Lamangan, being a seasoned director, was supposed to remedy such explicit inadequacy, but he didn’t. Was he blind? Deaf? Or just plain dense?
“Mamarazzi” educates us on how talented comediennes gradually succumb to mediocrity.
Here is a comment from a certain "Zare" on the Hating Kapatid review at Clickthecity.com: (July 21, 2010)
"Sarah Geronimo, the ultimate pawnshop camwhore! i still remember how funny it was when it was done well in Wayne's World... Doesn't work here though. It is horrible. What a cheap way to mock movie audiences. Didnt also like the part where they came dangerously close to making fun of the pain of a poor bereaved family at a funeral. It had intention, but to me it was tasteless..."
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Let’s forget for a second that Mac C. Alejandre hasn’t really made a decent film in his entire directorial career (and I refuse to even discuss anything from anyone who considers Bong Revilla’s “Ang Panday” a superior work), and that Claudine Barretto has established herself as that quintessential face of the itinerant Filipina (“Milan”, “Dubai”).
In Alejandre’s “In Your Eyes”, Barretto is Ciara, a physical therapist who braves the urban jungles of California to support her younger sister Julia (Anne Curtis). They lost their mother when Julia was born, and Ciara has since devoted her waking hours to fill the maternal void. “Hating Kapatid”, anyone? This is exactly Juday and Sarah passing the torch to Claudine and Anne, but instead of Libyan OFW’s coming home, they uproot themselves to Los Angeles! Filling the vast suitcase to inveigle a narrative is the eternally pouting Richard Gutierrez! Very original, right?
Gutierrez plays Storm, a name ambivalent enough to dash a bit of an edge to Gutierrez’s drying-paint countenance. He meets Julia in a bar and before he knew what hit him, they set out for an American adventure. He couldn’t live without Julia (was she that explosive in bed, a one night stand would inspire illegal migration?) But life in the Land of Green Bucks can be so cruel even to greek Gods like Gutierrez.
While Julia endures school and work, Storm is left grieving for his social injustice. The heavens would cave in if he reduces himself to “process films” at work. He envisions himself as some Annie Leibovitz, snapping portraits of the rich and famous while sipping Chardonnay. He is a photographer and it is beyond him to print photographs where he is employed illegally “in a photo shop”! He is insulted by such menial work – sitting in an AC room in front of a processing machine. He felt debased and degraded, and utterly humiliated! His refusal eventually lead to his superior calling him a “Filipino Rat”, and that about takes the cake. With his manly beauty and abounding charm, he throws the towel, an act that, to Mr. Gutierrez, would illustrate repugnance – or outrage! He walks out of his heavy-manual-labor job. And we sympathize with him. Poor boy!
While Storm is licking his wounds, where is Julia to lick them for him? Oh wait, the long agonizing Ate Ciara is there to walk the fire! Did I mention that Storm and Ciara (yup, Ciara – not Julia) actually got married so that Storm could get his green card? If you didn't get that from the trailers, you must live in a satellite space ship stationed at the next constellation.
And we know where all this is leading.
Claudine Barretto demotes herself from the masterful and epic strokes of the Star Cinema narratives on migration to something like an ill conceived, overly sappy melodrama, and what’s more, she looks matronly beside Richard Gutierrez. Her face is all puffed up, like they forgot to deflate her after giving birth. What’s worse is that she keeps wearing garments a size smaller than her girth, you see her bursting at the seams. You would find Ms. Barretto desperately catching up with Anne's and Richard's physical attributes: wearing heels while taking a stroll down the beach or while shopping. Tsk tsk tsk. To be relatively young and looking like you've been zapped into your mid-40's! And you wonder why she suddenly bolted from ABS CBN when she learned she'd be paired against her lovely, statuesque sister Gretchen Barretto for what would become "Magkaribal".
Such humanity... such vanity to take offense from comparisons with your own blood sister!
There was this scene where she had to walk down a stair and we see her flopping and bouncing away; a little too heavy on her stride. And in several scenes, we’d see her hair pasted flat to her scalp, further accentuating her “busog” look! In short, her romantic pairing with Richard feels nothing less than a fairy tale from writer Keiko Aquino’s prolific mind! You’d think Viva and GMA would have realized half way through shooting that Claudine got paired with the wrong twin! In fact, this would have been a perfect vehicle, not for Richard, but for Raymond Gutierrez!
Anne Curtis does better, the obedient actress that she is. But this isn't her moment in the sun! She meanders with raw talent; something that needs fine-tuning and intensity. An intensity not exactly showcased by kilometric verbal tussle, loud arguments, or a bucket full of tears. Anne is young, and she will get there one day.
Now, Richard Gutierrez is a conundrum to us. Sometime in the last 2 years, we actually thought that he was growing as a performer. Apparently not! In several scenes where he was saying, “I love you” to either Claudine or Anne, we were struck with his several degrees of banality. His expressions were vapid, and his emotions prosaic. I could probably elicit gravitas from an inanimate object more than from Richard Gutierrez!
In its running time of 120 minutes or so, we were never moved one bit! And this, by far, is 2010’s most protracted – and sappiest - melodrama! Yet with all of its ludicrous emotionality, there is not a single tear from me! That can’t be good! Heck, I even shed a tear from the shameless “Hating Kapatid”!
This too has some of the dumbest characters on silver screen. We have a doctor (Joel Torre) who heads a Rehab Center. Whenever he has a personal problem, this idiot would seek the counsel of his employee (Claudine) who must be 20 years his junior! Even when he discusses a case regarding his patient (about an athlete), he would consult with the Physical Therapist in order to decide on the disposition of the patient! Claudine would show him the xray of the patient, and instead of checking out the xray plates himself for an objective professional insight, he would ask the PT instead! The doctor is asking the PT what to do with the patient! Now you wonder why the people of “Desperate Housewives” think of Filipino doctors as a joke!
This also has one of the silliest endings, which I'd let you "discover". Despite being a potboiler filled with several narrative skips (7 years later, 8 months later, another 8 months later, 2 years later), you would notice that everyone looks exactly the same! Same hair cut! Same girth! Same manner of dressing! As though time stood still! I had to pinch myself. I almost forgot that this is a film by director Mac C. Alejandre!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Inquirer on Hating Kapatid: "To have to endure 'product placements' is too onerous an extra burden!"
Distractions detract from Judy Ann-Sarah starrer
"THE STELLAR pairing of Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo in Wenn Deramas’ family comedy, “Hating Kapatid,” has aroused special interest, because it could have seen the “passing of the torch” from one movie queen (Judy Ann) to another (Sarah).
Alas, it didn’t happen. The promising production turned out to be hobbled by a number of problems and limitations that ended up making it a failed cinematic enterprise.
That was a real pity, because the movie’s theme, sibling relationships, is of particular interest to Filipino viewers, who often grow up in homes where the oldest child assumes “third parent” responsibilities in helping to rear and even financially support his or her younger siblings.
True enough, the film’s plot had older sister, Judy Ann, taking care of Sarah when their parents opted to work abroad to make money for their family. The girls’ grandmother (Gina Pareño) watched over them, but Judy Ann assumed most of the “maternal” responsibilities in taking care of her little sibling.
So far, so acceptable. But, all too soon, the movie’s progress was muddled by the production’s distractingly frenetic attempts to generate extra “comedy” by ramping up its slapstick and kenkoy elements.
Otherwise a proficient and focused performer, Judy Ann was made to rattle off her lines in a giddy way, like a younger clone of Nida Blanca or Maricel Soriano.
Sarah was less of a caution in this regard, but she also had to contend with a number of slapstick moments and scenes that tweaked and distended her performance in an unnaturally hyper way, ostensibly to elicit extra loud whoops of laughter.
Trouble was, (Sarah's) attempts were so self-consciously broad and heavy that viewers’ real desire to laugh was dampened instead of encouraged.
An even bigger turn-off was the movie’s long list of “product placements” to generate extra income from advertisers. All sorts of products were shown being used by the stars on-camera, thus distracting viewers in a major way from the storytelling at hand.
These days, viewers already have to pay a lot for a movie ticket, so to have to endure “product placements” on top of that to add to a production’s income, in cash or kind, is too onerous an extra burden for moviegoers to bear!
What about the “passing of the torch” factor? It too was derailed, because neither Judy Ann nor Sarah survived the production’s limitations well enough to make such a symbolic act or gesture possible—or plausible.
We know that Judy Ann has come up with a number of worthy portrayals in the course of her long career, so she has nothing to prove. The big test was for Sarah to strut her thespic stuff—and she simply failed to deliver.
Sarah is a good singer and “obedient” performer who dutifully does what she’s told—and that’s her problem. Real star performers do more than comply with the director’s instructions, they make their performances their own by imbuing them with personality, sensitivity, charisma and insight.
These are what Sarah fails to provide, and what she should focus on in acquiring, if she wants to become an affecting performer and genuine screen luminary.
All else is dutifully going through the motions—and you don’t get awards for that."
Friday, August 13, 2010
Chivalry is alive in Sylvester Stallone’s world!
In “The Expendables”, a group of mercenaries take on a despotic, avaricious government to save a feisty girl (Giselle Itie). Stallone takes Jason Statham, Jet Li and his gang to the (mythical) South American island of Vilena to take on its army of hundreds, and we tag along for the ride in this testosterone fueled adventure.
At the heart of this once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of bigger-than-life action heroes, is their humorous, self-deprecating banters. Jet Li’s height becomes a running gag: At one point, Couture refers to their team as “four and a half”, then calls Li “Happy Feet”. The diminutive actor laughs it off with a rare grin, as he is further abused with a question, “What are you, a size 3?” Li isn’t the sole recipient of these tirades: Couture’s ears are called “flower ears” which he attributes to his young days of professional wrestling. (Do they pull ears off until they’re shaped as such?) Anyway, their explanation was attributed to blood clots that would retract the cartilage, which the pinna - that funnel shaped external ear - is made of.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cameo isn’t spared from these funny moments! When Stallone greets the California governor (after a grand entrance inside a church), Ah-nuld quips, “Did you get sick? You lost weight!” which Stallone replies with a curt, “The ones I lost, you found ‘em!” Schwarzenegger then begs off from a possible collaboration saying he’s too busy with more important things. “What’s up with him?” Bruce Willis asks Stallone. “He wants to be President!” When Eric Roberts, who gallantly plays Movie Bad Guy to all these “heroes” finds Dolph Lundgren, he remarks, “I’m not comfortable seeing giants with guns!” Lundgren is of course 6 foot 5 inches tall! Mickey Rourke, who plays the group’s resident philosopher tattooist, calls Jason Statham’s bald head as “Beautifully shaped. It would look good with (tattoo of) cobwebs around them.” Statham is unconventionally toothsome, and I didn’t realize how handsome he is when he beams. Statham seems humbled by his iconic company, but acquits himself more than adequately. Truth is, he must have smiled enough in this movie than all his movies combined – and I am not complaining!
Make no mistake! “The Expendables” delivers slam bang action with raw and old fashioned fisticuffs and explosive gun fighting. It makes you realize how much more realistic 80’s action movies were than present-day CGI-fueled actioner!
When the film opens with the mercenary group taking on those greedy Somali pirates, you somehow wish that John Rambo succeeded overthrowing Myanmar’s dictator rule! As well as blow to smithereens a dwarf’s rule from this country’s not too distant past!
That Jean Claude Van Damme decides to pass it up is really his loss. It would have been a singular moment back in the A-list spotlight. What, is he happy with his “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”? Or the Thailand movie, “The Eagle’s Path”?
Looks like a sequel is a good possibility. I can’t wait!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Harry Shum Jr. plays Cable, a johnny-come-lately character in Step Up 3D, which is really a non-character, but at least we get to see him dance!