Monday, January 10, 2011

Best Digital Fuzzy Cinemas – And 2010’s Most Wince-some & Winsome Moments Part 2

This post is 2nd part of 2010’s Note-worthy People and Moments!


That SM Group of Cinemas should start considering the purchase of new digital players, projectors and screens. Being a major player in the cinema industry should make them aware that SM Cinemas all over the country have the worst Digital Cinemas in Asia! Digital films shown in SM look dark, fuzzy and the images are skewed. Heck, even low-brow Marketplace Cinema’s digital theater in Kalentong (Mandaluyong) has better facilities than SM.

Tarima” and “Babae sa Sementeryo” seen at the Galleria and Megamalls will readily provide a stark comparative difference. While Galleria’s images glisten, Megamalls images appear dark and fuzzy, much like a pirated copy, and this is pretty unfair for the paying public as well as the film makers. My advice: if you are watching an indie movie and there’s a choice between an SM Cinema and elsewhere? It would be wise to watch it elsewhere!

I read somewhere that the SM Cinema Group covers 60% of the country's cinema market. If that is so, it is a serious matter lording it over with inferior technology.


The obvious snob of Jennylyn Mercado from the Best Actress race at the Metro Manila Film Festival is a conundrum. Is Marian Rivera's "Super Inday" really even worthy of a nomination?

Though we don’t exactly feel Mercado should win the award, her portrayal was nothing to scoff at. It was devoid of excesses. Other overzealous actresses would have gone to town with such a lustrous character, but Mercado’s “Rosario” had the trappings of a cool chic who braved the Americas in the 1920s. There were scenes where you could have expected artistic flares, but Mercado remained calm and firmly casual. And her “Rosario” character was largely unapologetic of her (mis)deeds (except from her daughter whom she was forced to abandon), much like the perfect feminist. Sure, Rosario may not turn out like the crowd favorite – or the model of moral standard, but she lived her life the way she wanted. I like that!

Rosario” is not a perfect vehicle either. It was convoluted and at times, unfocused, but this was superior work compared to the slapstick clutter of “Ang Tanging Ina Mo…Last Na ‘To”. When further compared to previous MMFF entries – like “Lapu Lapu”, the imbecilic “Wapakman”, “Super Noypi”, "Ang Darling Kong Aswang" and most “Shake, Rattle & Roll – “Rosario” is clearly a work of note! Carlo Mendoza’s cinematography, Joey Luna’s production design and Albert Chang’s music all deserve (at the very least) a nomination. Now, the film eventually won 2nd Best Picture – but you would somehow wonder why a festival’s 2nd best doesn’t merit a best director nomination, right? Maybe this 2nd Best Picture directed itself sans Mr. Martinez.


I was so pleased with the crop of films shown at the Cinema One Festivals last November. Unfortunately for Cinema One Originals, it also spawned one of the year’s worst films: “Tsardyer” – a highly myopic representation of Ces Orena-Drilon’s kidnapping. Watching the film presented more questions as the narrative was told from the point of view of the hoodlums. Dimples Romana, an actress we like, appeared weak and almost inconsequential, we almost didn't care much if she gets hurt. This "re-enactment" was devoid of the insight that the story needed to be edifying or gratifying enough. It is a disservice to the execrable travails of Ms. Drilon.

In between scenes, mediocre songs would play out, shot a la music videos, to piece the narrative threads together, which was very alienating because, heaven knows, music videos are simply getting out of fashion, and they have no place in mainstream cinemas. Didn't you know: even MTV channel has done away with music videos? Performances were horrible: from the usually reliable Neil Ryan Sese, to the constipated turn of Shamaine Centenera (playing ABS CBN’s Maria Resa), right down to the hoodlums whose “nanlilisik ang mga mata” demeanor reminded me of those outdated Piling Piling Pelikula flicks of years gone by.

In several frames, their color palette were oversaturated, you’d think someone has overplayed with his Picasa! Even the sound was coarse and maladroit: fist fights sounded like bamboo sticks hitting down walls. The most flagrant sin in this elementary effort was its dubbing. In several scenes, you’d see the characters mouth the words, while the actual sound would come out 5 seconds later! Weren't these multiple out-of-sync scenes unnoticed at the editing/dubbing room during post-production? It was so distracting! Now if that isn't a case of sloppy, perfunctory film making, I dunno what is.

That it deserves a pat on the back for getting made? You wish!

Mindanao folks do not Tagalize common words like “charger” into its idiotic “tsardyer” so you kinda get a sense of the mind set of its makers. I was so glad I saw “Damgo ni Eleuteria” (Eleuteria’s Dream) later. It renewed my interest to finish all the entries last November. Otherwise, I would have been content sitting at home instead of paying for something as gag-worthy as “Tsardyer”.

Ces Drilon played by Dimples Romana in the elementary effort that felt like an over-extended music video collection.


As mentioned earlier, I was so impressed with the crop of films shown at the Cinema One Festival last November, but one film was robbed off an award that rightfully belonged to them.

Best Cinematography went to “Ishmael” when it should have gone to Joaquin Valdes’ “Dagim”. I saw both films one after the other on the same day and the cinematography of “Ishmael” (one of my favorites from the festival) simply paled in comparison to “Dagim’s” cinematographic grandeur! People could debate about the artistic merits of each entry, but there’s not doubt in my mind about the incomparable excellence of Valdes’ camera work!

I saw “Dagim” first. By the time “Ishmael” screened, my visual senses were made acutely aware of its pixelated scenes and the uneven color grading of the seemingly (technically) unfinished “Ishmael”. Check out the long shots showing the fields at daylight and you could probably count the giant pixels staring before you. “Dagim” on the other hand boasted of crystal clear frames, even the night scenes and underlit shots bristle with clarity. It was all too obvious. Makes you wanna ask who were Cinema One’s visually-gifted judges? Were they blind? Were they dozing off while watching “Dagim”? Or were they simply intimidated by the youthful arrogant artistry of its makers? LOL

On point of narrative, “Ishmael” was a more cohesive work, with director Richard Somes once again effectively exploring themes on “alienation” and exploring the boundaries of people’s faith. Ronnie Lazaro inhabits his character with raw candor, giving the audience a sense of discomfort – the mere sight of his tattoos. The Tarantinoesque conclusion is something that deserves a bigger audience than Cinema One’s limited patrons.

Marc Abaya's mountain monster in "Dagim" (left) and Ronnie Lazaro's belligerent ex-convict in "Ishmael" (right).

Unexpectedly compelling "Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria" (Eleuteria's Dream) spectacularly shot in one full take! Damgo bravely tackles the chronology of displacement that eventually lead to a confoundingly funny, albeit ultimately wistful goodbye.


One of 2010’s most ebullient stage productions is the re-staging of Gines Tan’sMagsimula Ka!” It was fun to look back at the 80’s (Betamax? Metro Pop?) with such livid fun and the most glorious songs! Forget the naysayers who say it is “dated” (1980 should feel like the ‘80s – and that was 30 years ago!). The musical is a nostalgia piece. You can’t give it the veneer of “Rent” because it has a pre-millennial story. It's like saying "Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising", "Himala" or "Batch '81" are dated movies! On my part, I relished on some of the most melodic songs I've heard ever from any musical - foreign and local!

Mike Salomon, aka “DJ Myk”, is the star to watch! When he finally sang the anthemic “Magsimula Ka” at the end of the play, I was ready to rush to the stage and hug him. When other singers could have easily croaked from the song’s stratospheric excesses, Salomon was effortless, clear and pitch perfect! Congratulations to the whole cast and makers of “Magsimula Ka”. May your tribe increase!

Thank you, Tita Minnie, for the tickets - and for those delightful stilettos from Naples! I love you dearly. Kisses!


Sarah Geronimo’s “iDol” started out big! There were gimmicky extemporaneous dances in malls (MOA, Market Market) and people were looking forward to the local version of “Glee”. But then the ratings sagged. I wasn't too pleased watching Jovit Baldivino emoting; it was an unnerving watch. Even Geronimo’s millions of adoring fans didn't bother to watch the musical teleserye. From an earlier time slot, it moved to a later time slot and further down as it gradually faded in oblivion! It eventually closed shop 2 weeks or so before its scheduled sayonara. Tinaggal bigla - and no one noticed – simply because no one was watching!

Now I am curious where Ms. Geronimo’s gazillion of fans went? Ah yes, they were busy buying the products Sarah heavily peddled in the lukewarm “Hating Kapatid”. These days, she goes head on against the verbose and unapologetic Cristine Reyes whose Martha Cecilia'sKristine” is enjoying its 3rd programming extension in ABS CBN’s late prime time.

iDol's sagging ratings, premature ending. They didn't care about Billie, Jean or Jovit!

Martha Cecilia's Kristine: enjoying its umpteenth program extension.


2010 also saw the rise of the arrogant and intrusive fan groups. These are the very same fans who give bouquets to talk show hosts who highlight the mediocrity of their favorite love teams. The very same fans who threaten to throw acid at would-be rivals. I’d say the NBI should teach these non-thinking dregs a lesson or two on why threatening against the safety of others should not be a preoccupation. Paging the saintly Kimerald fans!


Who could ignore Charice’sinvasion” into mainstream American entertainment? From a cameo in a hit-movie, “Alvin and the Chipmunks – The Squeakquel” (singing Alicia Key’s “No One“) to a high-flying Billboard Hit (“Pyramid”) – to a giddy season 2 opener in the hit TV show, “Glee”, Charice Pempengco is in Entertainment Heaven. And we are absolutely there with her! Though she hasn’t been seen in "Glee" after her fabulous duet (“Telephone”) and showstopping solo (“Listen”), she is bound to re-appear this February 2011, and the whole Philippines is holding his breath! Go, Charice!

Charice re-appears in "Glee" very soon.


Manny Pacquiao is king of pugilists, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. begs to disagree. But you wonder why Mayweather keeps dodging the bullet, right? To add insult to injury, Mayweather and his father keep issuing statements that put down Pacquiao. In one such event, caught on video, he referred to Pacquiao, as “a yellow chump,” and even said “Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make that [expletive] make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.” He further said, “I’m going to cook that [expletive] with cats and dogs. Have some rice with a little barbecue dog.” He also referred to Pacquiao by using a derogatory slang term for a homosexual. Now who is the congressman, and who is behind bars?


Why Regal films decided to field “Super Inday and the Magic Bibe” is beyond us. First of all, it unnecessarily exposes Marian Rivera to comparison with the formidable Maricel Soriano who originated the role. Second, “Super Inday” wasn’t even that big of a film during its time so why remake it now? A whole generation of viewers are not familiar with this 80s film.

It further exposed Marian Rivera to an unflattering comparison with her earlier superhero persona – “Darna”. As a viewer, why would you watch an obviously kitschy, inferior superhero? They must have banked on the “recall” of “Super Inday”, but if anything, it felt too passé’. Marian could have done a lot better with her more original “Nieves” – that aswang killer, which she also headlined successfully as part of a “Shake, Rattle and Roll” trilogy a few years ago. People would have remembered that better than “Super Inday” since that film made a lot of money. Fast forward to 2010’s Metro Filmfest – “Super Inday and the Magic Bibe” is among the festival’s tail enders, box office-wise. Not a good start for 2011. Tsk tsk!

Butch Francisco's best actress nominee, Marian Rivera is able but pales in comparison to the verve of Super Inday's predecessor, Ms. Maricel Soriano.

Marian Rivera as Nieves, the aswang slayer (left) and as Darna (right).


Anonymous said...

Oh, I watch "Kristine" only because of JM de Guzman. Haha. And I just saw it last night: it's directed by Rory Quintos. Kaya pala cleavage galore.

And the only good Marian Rivera performance is that bit in Nieves. Siya na!

Cathy P. said...

Ay naku, I agree with you there. That "JM de Guzman" is so cute. First saw him in "Last Supper No. 3". He's also in a late afternoon drama, "Alynna" (I think). It's hard to switch channels when he's on the screen. Gawd! LOL

Re: Rory Quintos - ha ha ha! Bad ka!

Anonymous said...

He's way beyond cuuuuuute. LOL. i just hate it because they have to turn the focus away from him and shift to Zanjoe and Rafael. And he's a painter! o-ha.