Sunday, October 30, 2011

Praybeyt Benjamin - Selectively Hilarious

Benjamin Santos (Vice Ganda) comes from a long line of aggressive military men bristling with machismo. Unfortunately, he isn’t a slice of the same pie. He sashays with lurid sways in the most flamboyant fashion and his parents (Jimmy Santos and Malu de Guzman) don’t seem to mind. During a party that pays homage to the family’s grand patriarch (Eddie Garcia), Benjamin reunites with his grandfather who hasn’t seen him in quite a while. Needless to say, he isn’t amused to find his flaming “apo” swishier than the next parlorista. In fact, the elder Santos is flabbergasted. Benjie’s pretty much disowned.

Meanwhile, when a local terrorist group, the Bandidos, succeeds to hold in captivity most of the country’s military arm, the country is thrown into chaos. Civil war ensues, and the debilitated government has tasked each family to volunteer a member who would be trained to join the national forces that shall retake sovereign rule. The Santoses are in a dilemma. Benjie’s father is forced to volunteer despite his coterie of systemic illnesses, not to mention his age and physical stature. When conscience assaults our cross-dressing protagonist, Benjie finds himself in a bus full of similar volunteers, willing to sacrifice life and limb for a beleaguered nation.

A group of ragtag misfits joins Benjie including Jojo (Joji Lorenzo), the squad coward; Big Boy (Ricky Rivero), the morbidly obese glutton; Emerson (Kean Cipriano), the boyish nerd; Lucresia (Nikki Valdez), the bellicose girl who’s bent to extract Benjie’s confession regarding his sexuality; Buhawi Manay (Vandolph Quizon) who “sees dead people”, Then there’s Brando Estolas (Derek Ramsay), the hunky platoon leader.

There’s a hitch in Benjie’s plan of redemption: the military frowns upon homosexuals. He has to keep it closeted or he won’t have the chance to help in the rescue of his grandfather from the latter’s captors. But would Benjie be able to hold his ruse when his “hot papa” platoon leader’s anything but unfriendly? In fact, Brando’s offering him a massage in his own quarters! Is it bait? What to do?

In broad comedic strokes, Vice Ganda flaunts his mastery of spoken sarcasm that even mediocre lines don’t sound so bad with his delivery as they should as written material. Lines like “Puro kayo atay at balun balunan, wala kayong puso!” (You’re all liver and gallbladder, but heartless) become morsels of joy. When his father asked why Benjie’s visiting the “punerarya”, he replies with “mamimili ng ulam, gusto nyo ng dinuguan?” If you doubt this, hear how a full house crowd laps it up, it’s unbelievable. Ganda’s acidic dispatch carries a sense of slap-happy realization that indeed, some questions are too silly to be answered.

The most diverting parts are the scenes involving Ganda’s deception; that he is a suppressed flaming fag in a straight man’s turf: scenes at the obstacle course, at the common shower room, his moments with Brando (Derek) which derives the most laughs. Most of the scenes involving Derek bring the crowd to vicious roars of laughter: Vice and Derek running towards each other a la Gabby and Sharon; Vice being rescued from drowning via resuscitation; Vice ebulliently doing push ups as he daydreams of Brando gazing seductively on the ground. Since when has watching a gay guy “crave” for a man become swoon worthy? Try now.

The film is peppered with screwball materials we’ve expected from director Wenn V. Deramas whose comedic resume unfurls from delightful fodders (“Ang Tanging Ina”) to moronic clutter (“BFF: Best Friends Forever”, “Petrang Kabayo”, “Hating Kapatid”). I have been wondering how Deramas has managed to spread himself too thin with a succession of work that continues to deteriorate in film making proficiency. Doesn’t experience make one a better auteur? Apparently not. Truth is, “Praybeyt Benjamin” is home to some of the most hideous computer-generated images to grace the local screen in recent memory. Check out the climbing-the-pole scenes; or the human slingshot scenes. His pococurante stagings are too obvious to ignore. You’d find the end of the harness hanging behind the actors while they float away on powdery scenes. This is a bit annoying because you would expect better craftsmanship, i.e. cinematography and production values, from a mainstream flick such as this.

There are mind benders in the story as well. Twelve generals get kidnapped and the country is in chaos? That’s all it takes? And when you’re recruiting able bodied people, how do you explain someone of Jimmy Santos’ girth and age to make the grade? Females and the aged are allowed, as well as those with hypertension, diabetes, and hemorrhoids – but not physically fit gays? Are we still in an era where gay men are the scourge of the earth? Every one can help, but the gays? Sometimes it is sad that it’s the openly gay personalities like Deramas who discriminate against his own.

Luis Manzano cameos with the horse from “Petrang Kabayo” (Vice Ganda's first starrer), while Angelica Panganiban lends her voice as Derek’s girlfriend (also played by Vice Ganda). Others in the cast include Carlo Agassi, Bodie Cruz and Dennis Padilla.

The entertainment quotient of “Praybeyt Benjamin” relies heavily on Vice Ganda’s dry wit, sincere humor and acerbic delivery. They are his tickets to relatability to a once-homophobic general public despite his overt sexual orientation. In this regard, Vice Ganda has broken barriers. Suddenly, straight men aren't anxious with the third sex. The comedian has taken a new generation of men into a higher level of maturity. Suddenly, gay men are not objects of ridicule. After all, they do that on themselves quite compellingly. That’s a considerable degree of success, if you ask me. If only Vice Ganda employed a more insightful director who doesn't rush around his principal photography.

Derek Ramsay: The British Filipino actor is the unexpected toast of tinseltown after huge blockbusters like "No Other Woman" and "Praybeyt Benjamin".

Alwyn Uytingco and Kean Cipriano

Andrew Wolff, the Philippine Volcano star, plays Abe Sayaf, a terrorist soldier.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Doing It With Sarah - I Don't Know How She Does It

Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a devoted mother of two. Her husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) adores her, as she juggles her domestic demand over her job in a high power investment firm. In fact, this time Kate is coming up with a proposal that just might give her a promotion. But she has to fly from Boston to New York and back to work on this project. Moreover, she has to enveigle her presence with a charming financial executive, Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) who is gradually warming up to her cooky moments, like singing a lullaby for her 2 year old over the phone, or resisting the urge to scratch when she gets afflicted with her daughter’s head lice.

Plot thickens when she gets even busier than usual, she starts missing her child’s school events and even had to fly to New York during Thanksgiving to close a deal. Richard’s starting to detest Kate’s frequent rendezvous with Jack. After all, the latter’s single and not exactly a hideous looking gentleman. This last 3 months would test Kate’s multi tasking luck. Would she lose her family over her impending promotion?

We’ve seen similarly themed movies like this before. But I was nonetheless looking forward to watch Sarah Jessica Parker flex her corporate muscle – with her gorgeous pairs of shoes. The movie doesn’t drag, and it’s populated by feisty characters that buoy a rather predictable story.

The film espouses on several new age ideas: Men and women look at child care (i.e. hiring nannies) very differently. For men, it’s an outflow of cash they badly need. But when a couple is too occupied with each of their careers, how are they going to address adequate child care when they are simply unavailable?

Among disputing moms of school-age children: Working mothers need solidarity. Their rank in likability is just below a felon and just above a shop lifter. It’s funny how stay-home mothers are pitted against working moms. They compete during bake sales and school events, disposing commentaries on how children should be reared.

There’s a scene here which I love. While en route to their mountain cabin for Thanksgiving, the film takes an aerial shot of the sinewy road where Kate and Richard’s car was plying. The terrain looked immaculate in snow-capped white while Bill Weather’sLovely Day” starts playing. Before long, every one sings along including Emily Reddy, the couple’s daughter. Hearing that song reminds me of Christmas and all the other feel-good holidays.

Parker does well as career-juggling Kate, but though the film is briskly paced and well acted, the narrative meat feels a bit gaunt. Director Douglas McGrath’s film needed new ideas to allow the film to soar. That didn't happen.

Finally, on the existing double standard against working people, a male character offers how, among other things, men have to spend time shining their shoes; something that represents the expectations the corporate world places on this demographic. He concludes: “Have you ever seen women shine their shoes?" You'd have to admit the argument is rather flimsy and doesn't quite hold water.

Regardless, here's my question: Is it even appropriate to show grooming in public? I clean my shoes, that much I know. I just don’t have the constitution to show it. There’s etiquette to that. Men are sometimes too clueless with the ways of proper grooming convention.

Pierce Brosnan is Jack Abelhammer

Sarah Jessica Parker is Kate Reddy

Greg Kinnear plays Richard

Christina Hendricks plays Allison, Kate's bestfriend

Christina Hendricks is a voluptuous CalistaFlockhart ("Ally McBeal"). See the poster below for the uncanny semblance. She was in "E.R." and more recently in "Mad Men" as Joan Harris.

Olivia Munn plays Kate's assistant Momo

Olivia Munn

Seth Meyers plays the requisite naughty boy Chris Bunce.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sexventure - Pinnacle of Confusion, Apex of Bewilderment

I was in a dilemma in the last 4 days. I’ve been trying to write my thoughts on Nigerian film director Fellyx Honeyfield’sSexventure” but somehow I kept putting it off and when I started typing, it was hard making heads and tail piecing together something that was hardly a valid story. Fact is, you can’t conjure one when there’s none to begin with.

The film starts out with a tacky slide show-style introduction of its four main characters where descriptions are written down beside their frozen images. Then this is immediately followed by a jump into the illusory future: a befuddling “Several Years Later”! That’s just the first 10 minutes, mind you!

A group of girls is gearing up for an out of towner: Rose (Carla Diaz), who leads the pack; Bheng (Gelicist Iwata), the self confessed lesbian; Bella (Chloe Rivas) and poor Lisa (Jeanica Razz), the secretive, albeit virginal lass. They have known each other as little girls, and they currently share a class in school. Rose is quite the delinquent girl who skips her classes and reads gay magazines inside her car. She hails from an influential family. Among them, Lisa seems to have the most dramatic back story. She’s plagued by the demise of her parents who perished from the floods in her province. She has since moved to Manila, burning the midnight oil to make good in school.


Today is a special day. The girls, in celebration of Rose’s birthday, are taking a trip to a forest resort in Laguna. Along the way, they plan to pick up guys. In fact, while gassing up, lesbian Bheng initiates sexual advances with the pump boy – and oh boy, how he pumps! This ends up in an orgy involving the two other girls and the other gas boy, right at the station’s hut where everyone could see. Lisa, on the other hand, looks on seemingly appalled by the turn of events. Yet we keep hearing Lisa’s voice over on how deceptive she really is; that her prim façade is one duplicitous affair. And that she’s hatched a plan that would stir her journey towards a form of psychological emancipation. En route to the resort, Rose strikes a deal with a stranger who gets paid to take them to this notable Shangrila, oblivious of the fact that this man could be a bandit!

That night, the girls find themselves bound and beaten black and blue. But they eventually escape and, after a humdrum chase in the jungle (where they killed their abductor), they find the resort. They were welcomed with open arms by the indulgent owner Hilson (Romano Vasquez). Before the night draws to a close, Hilson hosts a birthday dinner – bringing tidings, food and the company of more guys! That night, the girls get their concupiscent dose; each one finding their rooms with their boytoys. What about virginal Lisa?

In a most atrocious narrative detour, we find out that Lisa isn’t who her friends think she is!

After having seen so much crap this year, I can offer fortitude without wavering that this is top candidate as 2011’s worst commercial release! There’s so much disjointed ideas in this effort that I don’t know where to start!

When Rose declared it was her birthday, no one even bothered to greet her. They all appeared stoic and cloaked with their ineptitude. Isn't it amazing to have friends who can't even wish you well on your birthday? And how far is Laguna anyway? A 2-day ride? You’d see sundown and evening shots before they finally reach a place the next day. That's where they meet their abductors. Isn’t it a mere 65 kilometers from Makati to Calamba, Laguna? Or is the editor (Honeyfield himself) completely confused with his geography and timeline? That seems to be the case. In fact, when Romano Vasquez finally brought his birthday cupcake for Rose’s birthday celebration, there had been two night scenes, including the night they were kidnapped. It was Day 3 already, yet you hear Rose saying “birthday ko ngayon”. How long was she borne out of this world – 3 days? Was her head stuck at her mother’s vaginal orifice for 3 long days while her neonatal body was dangling out of the introitus? And you don’t wonder why her face was shaped oblong, I am telling you it was beginning to worry me!

They even hired a Tagalog translator (Mary Grace Dagohoy) who had trouble differentiating the use of “ng” from “nang” – “Kaya siya nagustuhan nang mga kaibigan…” The culprit here deserves to find herself a cave and stay there for 77 summers!


When they escaped from their kidnapper’s hideout, we’d see them stagger away with their luggages. When you’re running for dear life, would your earthly possessions really matter? Then when they finally stabbed their kidnapper, they didn’t even think of reporting to the nearest police station. Instead, they frolic in the “batis”. If I had blood gashing down my face and my skin ecchymotic from beatings, I wouldn’t even celebrate my birthday until the next year. I’d stay away from strangers! But these girls instead hooked up with more strange men, canoodling with their joysticks until the better part of the day. That same night, the girls lose their bruises like magic! I am bothered by how common sense eludes these nincompoops! I'm suddenly thrown into this anathema of the world’s most feeble-minded dingbats to walk the earth!

If you think this narrative strain has been well covered, guess again! It turns out that virginal Lisa actually planned on sleeping with all the other guys - her friends' bedmates that night! How she found the time and the place is really irrelevant. She did it at the alternate universe of Fellyx Honeyfield’s orbit of dementia! Are we done here? Hold your horses! Lisa is further afflicted with AIDS. Or is she? Oh gawd of mercy! LOL

Gelicist Iwata plays Rose; credits say otherwise.


Three months after the incident, back in Manila, Lisa sends her friends a message: “I’m killing myself today so you better see me or you won’t get an explanation.” How forthcoming. Earlier that day, she was told by her doctor that she’s pregnant! “Paano nangyari yun, eh virgin ako!” she bewailed. My sentiments exactly! She could be the next case of Immaculate Conception, quips her doctor.


Then another effort of explanation ensues: Lisa was impregnated by Rose’s dad when she was 14. I seriously almost crawled under my seat from utter disbelief. Lisa had since then slept with 60 guys to somehow support herself (remember the “delubyo” that her parents suffered?) Needless to say, Lisa liked sleeping around too. She reasoned: “Pag lalaki ang nagsasabi ng malalaswa sa babae, sexual harassment yun. Pag babae ang gumagawa nun, limanglibo lang yun!” Huh? I thought she was doing tricks to earn? Why is she paying P5,000? This has got to be the most insightful flick straight out of a hollow cranium! If she desired the company of men so much, why keep it a secret from her equally lustful girl friends? She's merely complicating her shallow life! They've all slept with strangers, what kept her from their orgiastic encounters? I couldn’t fathom the ruse. The points don’t connect.


When her friends catch her at the apartment (re: her threat), she tells them, “Buntis ako!” and to make a double whammy, she admits to having H.I.V. The girls started wailing because they all thought they contracted the retrovirus. Why? Because back in Laguna, Lisa slept with the guys the girls slept with at the resort. This exasperated Bella so that, right there and then, she takes out a handgun and blows her brains out! Oh yes! Another idiot falls! Where did she get the gun? Why was she carrying it around? And more importantly, didn’t Lisa sleep with the guys after the girls’ intimate encounters with them? The guys could be afflicted with H.I.V., but not the girls. Simple deduction – and absolutely a waste of a good bullet that should have been aimed elsewhere, like the idiot who conjured these bromidic and incoherent snippets of ideas!


The movie concludes with an epilogue that occurs 25 years hence. Lisa, now a lola (grandmother) chronicles her memoir to her discombobulated grandchildren. Imagine being 6 years old and hearing your lola relate her sexual escapades with 60 men? Inspiring, I bet! It’s enough to stoke the savage demons of childhood, right? In the scene, she refutes herself thrice, vacillating between facts that she indeed contracted HIV and “yung tests nila, negative” which makes for a hair-pulling afternoon. Ano ba talaga, ate?

The film gravely suffers from blind skills reminiscent of when I got hold of my dad’s video camera when I was 8 years old. The lines were out of sync 3 seconds from delivery, making your cinematic experience rather confounding. The soundtrack mostly overwhelms the spoken words that at some point, you ultimately stop trying to listen because it was a lost cause.

Now, if you’re not quite over the shrewd and impertinent lines from Ruel Bayani’s No Other Woman”, sit back and hang on to your toilet seats for the opposite end of the cinema gibberish that’s too far removed from logic or reality:

Lisa: Virgin pa ako.

Bheng: Gusto ko ng birhen.

Lisa to Bheng: Tomboy ka?

Bheng: Waaate-ber! (Then this lesbian proceeds to seduce the gasoline boy at their next car stop!)

When Rose finds Bheng shagging the gas boy, she starts groping her breast, reaching down her crotch, and then she shouts to the lustful gas boy: “Hey, wag mong itigil at malapit na sya (Bheng).” How she knew of Bheng’s impending orgasm is quite a mystery to me.

When Bheng stabs their abductor while they were being pursued in the forest, one of the girls shouts at her: “Hindi solusyon sa problema natin ang patayin siya. After being beaten half to their death, coming out of their hideaway bruised, contused, raped and kept like slaves, what is the solution exactly?

“Ang mga sekretong itinatago ko sa mahabang panahon ay siya palang magiging kaaway ko…” Such transcendental musings. My enemy is usually simple idiocy!

When Rose finds Romano Vasquez in the wilds of Laguna, she comes up to him and says: “Puwede mo ba kaming matulungan?” Then she proceeds to kick him in the balls.

Romano: “Paano ko kayo matutulungan kung basag ang itlog ko!” (How perceptive!)

That night at the birthday party, Rose remarks: “Sisipsipin ko ang itlog mo hanggang malagutan ka ng hininga!” These lines should figure among the most inspired lines to come out of the new millennium, don’t you think?

Lisa, describing her playmate for the night: “Si Henry ay gwapo, matikas at mabalahibo ang katawan.” Gorillas, anyone?

When Lisa recalls their departure from Laguna, she says, “Nang gabing umalis kami sa resort…” but they actually left in mid-day when the sun’s up! How they easily forget!

“Ang isang trahedya sa pakikipagtalik ay nagsisimbulo ng kaluluwang ligaw!” I half expected they were going to turn macabre and show demons and spirits floating around. Lapit na Halloween kasi!

This Nigerian director fills his platter with a modicum of sayings that don’t quite make sense. In fact, he peppers his work with aphorism that he fails to expound. Let’s take this line: “A man without a dream is like a typhoon without a direction. He breaks into all sorts of things and crashes into stuff he never planned for.” Ano daw? LOL

There’s more: “Don’t be afraid to sleep. You might have the dream that might turn your night into day!” Something that’s turning his films into little slices of nightmare, that’s for sure! When I was reviewing his movie called “Mainit” (Paolo Rivero, Lorraine Lopez) last February, I chanced upon a site where he espoused on such dreams: “I want to be a mouth for the indie producers” - in Hollywood, mind you! Of course he meant “voice” – unless he plans on eating his way around Steven Speilberg – his “idle”!

This utterly brilliant film maker can’t even get his actors’ names right. The character assignations at the credits were erroneous. The character of Rose was actually portrayed by Gelicist Iwata (photo above), not the Carla Diaz that was written in the credits! How’s that for attention to detail? Maybe he’s just overwhelmed by his multi-tasking, being writer, director, producer, music scorer, and editor! Whatever the reason, it’s with due clarity that he should never attempt the same – ever again! In any of the aforementioned job title! It’s even a more inspired idea if he practices his craft in his federal constitutional republic of Nigeria. I am sure his 156 million compatriots would appreciate his aphorisms more than those incandescent executives responsible for choosing indie titles screened at Galleria’s indie sine! In my book, this was one of the most painful punishments I’ve had to hurdle in my charmed existence! What's worse, I had to pay to be dumbed down by it!

The funniest bit in this sad excuse of cinema happens at the tail end of the screening. Little did I know that “Sexventure” wasn’t actually a compound word for “sex adventure”, but an acronym that meant this: S – Severe, EX – Extremely, V – Vicious, E – Exposing, N – Nudity, R – Reproach… and so on! Does that vaguely mean anything to you? Someone needs to bump his head on the wall.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Killer Elite - Assassinations and High Adrenaline Rescues

Men don’t understand women. They don’t realize we’re made to appreciate the finer things in life. Otherwise, why would I be put to task for buying “yet another” pair of shoes? When I came barging home with my shopping bag, dad shot me his censuring glance like I did a Macapagal-Arroyo mischief. Heavens! First of all, I barely resemble a troll who even looks more hideous with a neck brace and fake boobs. Would my dad rather see me spend my money on drugs and other vices? Secondly, I don’t acquire money, gain or advantage by dishonest, unfair or illegal means, then proudly saunter around like I’m an angel sent from the heavens. I am a mere earthly angel. Dainty, sweet and svelte. Period. (No, Iya, do not laugh. I’m being apropos, girl.)

This reverie took me in front of a cinema counter. Maybe I’ll understand men better if I were to watch a high adrenaline flick?

Gary McKendry’sKiller Elite” would be that film, right?

Danny (Jason Statham) was an assassin until he unintentionally killed a man in the presence of the latter’s child. More than the poor child, he was scarred from the experience thus making him quit his avocation and moved to Australia where the cows graze on kangaroo-poo grown grass. Quaint. A year into his hibernation, he learns of his friend Hunter (Robert de Niro) being taken hostage! The culprit was an Omani sheik who wants revenge for his three sons individually assassinated by S.A.S. soldiers during the Dhofar Rebellion (1964-1975) launched against the sultanate of Muscat and Oman (which had British support).

This plot was relayed to Danny who has to seek the SAS soldiers responsible for the death of the sheik’s sons. Since revenge was the order of the day, he had to assassinate these soldiers and extract confessions from them. If he succeeds, Hunter will be freed and he gets $6 million for his effort. Trouble is, these soldiers aren’t exactly limp wristed, helpless or morons. They are highly skilled and well connected. But as Danny carefully treads his maneuvers, he is being tailed by Spike (Clive Owen) tasked by a secret organization of former-SAS officers who’s getting worried!

Now imagine Statham engage in a testosterone fueled fistfight with Clive Owen. Add a dash of Robert de Niro! What could be more potent than this formula?

The film takes us through different places: Wales, Paris, Oman, Australia, and this wanderlust countenance could sometimes divert you away from the main story. But with Statham and Owen on board, you’d be foolhardy to expect a rousing drama, right? What kept me glued was how the grieving father, the ailing sheik, was so persistent on avenging his slain sons’ deaths. I guess there is no gadget that would suffice to measure up a father’s love. Which doesn’t mean a child is incapable of reciprocating his affections, as when Danny would sacrifice his peaceful life in rural Australia just to help out a dear old friend. There’s nothing wrong with being valiant – or quixotic – just to help out a friend in need.

Now can I buy another pair of shoes?

Spike catches Danny

Jason Statham

Jason Statham

Clive Owen

Clive Owen

Clive Owen

Yvonne Strahovski plays Anne, Danny's Australian girl who's suddenly caught in the crossfire.

Yvonne Strahovski is Australian. She plays Sarah Walker in the TV series "Chuck" and will be seen in Anne Fletcher's "My Mother's Curse" with funny man Seth Rogen and (hold your breath) Barbra Streisand! The latter is about an inventor hitting the road with his mother to sell his latest invention. Sounds like fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apollo 18 – Lunar Crabs, Jumping Rocks & Handheld Cameras

Apollo 17 was the 11th and final manned mission in the Apollo Space Program. The year was 1972, the last time man landed on the moon. Or was it really?

Footages have been found to negate this, suggesting there was a 12th mission – Apollo 18. On board were astronauts Ben, John and Nate (Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins, Lloyd Owen respectively) tasked to set up cameras on the moon and retrieve lunar samples. On December 25th, 1975, this secret mission landed on the moon. During a cursory moonwalk, Nate inadvertently finds a Russian spaceship, operational yet curiously abandoned. Blood stains are all over the shuttle. When he follows “something” into the tenebrous crater, he discovers a dead cosmonaut and a briskly crawling creature. The next few days has Nate stricken with an illness that burrows through the skin. His eyes turn bloodshot and his mentation volatile. But something else is troubling them out there. Creepy noises are heard while they sleep. The equipment set up outside are upturned, causing them to intermittently lose communication from Earth. Suddenly, the moon becomes a hostile place. Will the astronauts make it back home?

Employing the craft that made “Paranormal Activity” a runaway hit, i.e. lots of cameras (handheld and otherwise), Apollo 18 tries the same ruse to convey an atmosphere of isolation and – well – doom! In some way, they've succeeded creating such atmosphere. After all, it isn't an easy task to sustain your viewers' attention when 95% of the time, there are just two characters interacting on screen. The situation on hand has to be riveting enough to buoy up interest.

What I didn’t find amusing was their treatment of the antagonists. Here, there are crab-like creatures that, though small, seem smarter than humans; there’s a jumping rock as well! Yes, a rock that hops and somehow changes form. There's a scene where John scoops out this organism lodged in Nate’s abdomen. You’d see the shape of the creature, probably measuring 4 by 5 inches wide, yet when he extracts it out with a forceps, it jumps on the floor and it looks like a stone barely 2 inches big! I have to somehow appease myself that my fears were well placed because this “stone” will eventually reshape itself into hideous monsters! Oh dear!

To be honest, despite the “Cold War” climate of the mid-70’s, it was hard to believe they needed to keep this mission a secret. This idea is less than expedient. But then, without it, they’d be left with an even thinner plot. Was it a matter of national security to plant flags and motion detection cameras on the surface of the moon? The use of “national security” as a way out to avoid logical explanations is getting too flimsy and lazy. I’d rather buy another pair of shoes than hear that excuse again! Ho-hum! And how can the Russians launch a spaceship without getting detected? And were cameras really that prevalent in 1975? Then I’m reminded that this is science fiction and horror rolled into one. Maybe they have cinematic license for such farfetched ideas. It’s as believable as believing that Lunar Rovers can be easily turned over, like they’re mere toys made of paper mache!


The voyeuristic approach in this growing genre called "Found Footage Films" (a documentary faux film that started in 1980's with "Cannibal Holocaust") isn't as potent here as they were in other films of such nature ("The Last Broadcast", "Blair Witch Project", the Spanish film "Rec" and its US-version "Quarantine", "The Last Exorcism", "Paranormal Activity" and its prequels; even "Cloverfield"). But it can be an interesting watch on a lazy weekend when there's nothing else worth doing.

On point of performance, director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s actors were more than decent! You’d have to commend their earnest portrayals. When Lloyd Owen, playing the afflicted astronaut Nate, suddenly wakes up and growls “Don’t ever touch me again!” I was petrified. Maybe he was pissed off because he got the peas instead of the carrots from their space kitchen? Someone give the guy his carrot!

Moon creature embeds itself in human viscera.

Nate feels devilish. "Leave me," he instructs his friend.

Warren Christie plays Capt. Benjamin Anderson in "Apollo 18". He hails from Northern Ireland, but graduated from Ontario, Canada. His resume reveals a long list of TV work, the most recent is "Alphas". He just completed another film - McG's "This Means War" with Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon.

Ryan Robbins was in several TV series as well like "Sanctuary", "Caprica", "Battlestar Galactica", "The Guard", etc. He was with Adrien Brody in "Wrecked". He next topbills Tracy D. Smith's "Everything and Everyone".

Luke Owen plays Nate Walker who gets inflicted with lunar crabs! He was in "Miss Potter" and in several TV series.