Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Amnesia Girl

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No. It is not really a rehash of 50 First Dates, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or any other amnesia film you could think of. The similarities end with the amnesia issue. There is a big twist at the end which somehow resembles the twist of another Toni Gonzaga movie. Although not exactly the same, they are almost similar in terms of the chain of events leading to the revelation, and the irony of it all.

The thing about watching John Lloyd movies is that no matter who his leading lady is, there will always be that throng of screaming fans making their presence felt on every close-up, and their laughter is quite contagious. It is a communal experience linked by a happy ambience where everyone is just having fun. This is always advantageous for the movie. Sometimes you no longer know if it is the scene or the line that is funny or just the fact that the audience is so much affected.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1

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As a standalone movie, it will seem boring and will not make a lot of sense, at least for those who really have no background about Harry Potter (Do such people exist! Seriously?). However, as part of a whole this movie is probably one of the best among the series. It serves its purpose well as the breather before the climax.

What is admirable about this film is the contrast. There are a lot of scenes that are silent, as if intentionally done to prep the audience for a bigger action-packed scene, of which this movie has only a handful. This mood is maintained all throughout the film’s two-hour run. It is a good decision to split the material into two parts in order to build excitement, be more faithful to the book, and give time for the fans to review the books before everything ends. Seven months for seven books would do, even at a rather slow pace of one book a month before July 2011 comes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

MANILA: 07 – Rizal and Lapu-Lapu, Spotted!


What followed was a long walk from the Post Office to the vicinity of Rizal Park. Do yourself a favor and take a jeep. In my case, it was the classic case of Everything seems so near! phenomenon. You see several landmarks close to one another and then you assume that they are within walking distance. Well, that is true to some extent, but group them together and you would be surprised how far the landmarks from both ends are from each other!

MANILA: 06 – The Ermita Walkathon


It was raining when I got out of Intramuros and my legs were already telling me to go home and be on bed rest for the next few days. The joys of leg torture! My mind was against the idea. It was only 1 PM and the Planetarium on the other side of the street looked really interesting. So I rested under a tree until the heavy rain turned into a light shower and then I crossed Padre Burgos Street.

MANILA: 05 – Time Loops and UFO Landing Pads


You should not believe a kalesa driver at Plaza de Roma when he says that the Bahay Tsinoy is so far away that you need to ride his horse-drawn carriage to get there. The road to the left of Manila Cathedral is called Cabildo Street. Walk down that path and you will arrive at Bahay Tsinoy after three street corners in five minutes, under ten minutes if you are not a brisk walker. If you love museums because they are so cool you’re gonna die then make sure you know the opening hours. Most museums in Intramuros are closed on Mondays. The Bahay Tsinoy is only open to the public from 1 PM to 5 PM. It is a museum dedicated to the Filipino – Chinese community and their contributions to the country. The entrance fee is 100 pesos for adults. 60 pesos for students and children. Lying about your age is optional, but you just came from the Manila Cathedral. Later on you will be visiting yet another church. Well, two, in fact. Do you really want to risk going to hell over 40 pesos?

MANILA: 04 – Was That a Ghost, or Your Grandma?


You can now walk out to the veranda and buy a souvenir. I bought the hardbound version of Noli Me Tángere which serves as a replica of the original manuscript. The text is written in cursive and has Rizal’s notes in it. If you could read en español and you love deciphering texts that look like doctors’ prescriptions, or if you just like collecting books, then this one is for you! El Filibusterismo is also available. They are a bit costly at 800 pesos apiece but well worth the price, and the weight. You could opt for a smaller printed version that sells for 300 pesos. If you have tried searching for the original Spanish versions in bookstores in Manila, you would know how close to impossible it is to actually find one.

MANILA: 03 – Leave Rizal’s Golden Footsteps Alone!


Salute the flag, climb the steps, and then cross the bridge. Notice how picture perfect the floating water lilies are? It is unknown if hardcore camwhores are permitted to jump in to join the said water plants for a nature-inspired photo op. Ask the people running the place first before doing so just to be sure.

MANILA: 02 – The Statue Who Loved to Shower


Technically, the wall does not end because it surrounds the whole area. Okay fine, it does end because the side of the district facing the Pasig River has no wall. What is being said here is that you cannot really stay on the wall and expect to go around the whole district. There are some restricted areas where you have no choice but to go down and hit the streets.

MANILA: 01 – Of Walls and Balls


Intramuros is a must-see if you are longing for a dose of culture and history. This walled city served as the stronghold of the government during the Spanish colonial period. It was not just any other city. It was Manila itself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wedding Singer (9 Works Theatrical)

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The opening number (It's Your Wedding Day) is full of energy and 80's dance moves, and it is wonderful that way. However, it seems to lack the oomph to get the audience excited for the following scenes. The opening number of the second act is way more enticing, and starts with a picture perfect scene given the appropriate lighting and the crisp corporate look of the ensemble. It is a mental image that just sticks.

TV does not do Gian Magdangal justice. This guy can sing and his voice suits mellow and rock without trying too hard. Iya Villania is no Lea Salonga but she can definitely carry a tune. These two's duets are so pleasing to the ears, the blending is perfect and neither one is out-sung. It is also a good thing that Villania is able to get rid of her Aussie accent here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Megamind

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Coming on the heels of Despicable Me, this movie comes out just a little too soon. Written by Tina Fey, it is meant to be witty and a lot of the dialogues are actually quotable. This is what this movie has to make up for Despicable Me's secret weapons, namely the fatherhood angle and the cute kids. Adults would probably have a good time watching this movie because of the punchlines. Other than that, it is just another popcorn flick. Has Hollywood gotten tired of its superheroes? Why the sudden influx of romanticized villains? There are a couple of twists halfway through the movie. These really help a lot for the movie to establish its own identity. Otherwise, it would have been just another superhero movie with wicked animation and its fair share of weird characters.

Till My Heartaches End

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The non-linear flow of the story has a unique appeal of its own. It is as if everything is just a vague recollection of a love affair gone awry, shared over a cup of coffee on a rainy night. This, however is what also makes the movie boring, similar to the boredom one feels after hearing every little detail of a love story about which you could not care any less.

There is a lot of talk in this movie. Almost half the back-story is made known to the audience through the other characters' conversations (or better term, "gossip"). This is somehow effective, although one could not help but think that it is just done that way because they had no ample time to shoot extra scenes.

Petrang Kabayo

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Typical Wenn Derramas movie: exaggeration, slapstick, DJ Durano. The movie is so-so and turns out to be a bore after the transformation scene. However, credit should be given where it is due. This is only the third local movie to pass the 100-million mark this year, that despite the poor material and the fact that this is Vice Ganda's launching movie. Given those factors, what this movie has achieved is already remarkable in itself.

What happens to Vice Ganda after this movie? He seems to lack the versatility of recent comedy breakout stars such as Eugene Domingo. Take for example that one scene where he cries with his father in the hospital. John Arcilla's attack is so subtle yet just right for the scene, while his is already bordering on hysterical. Perhaps he can do drama, but can he do it well enough for the audience to momentarily forget his punchlines and succumb to the sudden change of mood? Could he portray characters other than himself? Unless he could prove that, he might just turn out to be a one-trick pony.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Night Music (Atlantis Productions)

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The musical begins with a young man pretending to play the cello (You are awesome in everything you do Felix Rivera, but it is obvious that the sound is coming from the orchestra. Is it?) followed by a marvelous combination of voices provided by a quintet. Their shtick quickly becomes repetitive after butting in the scene for the nth time, but come on! With such a smooth blending of voices, could one really complain? This five-man chorus also makes up for the many limitations of the simple set design. If the rest of the cast is the preterit, this group of singers is the imperfect. They provide an aural representation of the visual background that you just do not see. And it is really music to one's ears.

Acting-wise the cast is brilliant. The director could not have found a better ensemble of such talented actors. The weakest link would have to be the kid who portrays the role of Desiree's daughter. It is just that her accent is inconsistent in some scenes, but with that blunder aside she really is not that weak a link.

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