Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The conjuring 2

DIRECTOR: James Wan  LEAD CAST: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente  SCREENWRITERS: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, David Leslie Johnson            STORY: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan  BASED ON: The Enfield Poltergeist haunting investigated by Ed & Lorraine Warren  PRODUCERS:  Peter Safran, Rob Cowan, James Wan  FILM EDITOR: Kirk M. Morri  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Joseph Bishara  GENRE: Horror  CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Burgess  PRODUCTION COMPANIES: New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Evergreen Media Group  DISTRIBUTED BY: Warner Bros.  LANGUAGE: English LOCATIONS: Los Angeles, California, USA; London, England UK RUNNING TIME: 134 minutes
Technical assessment: 4
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating:  V14
MTRCB rating: 
       It must be noted that The Conjuring 2, like its predecessor, is based on a true story taken from the Warren files.  After a hiatus of six years from their Amityville horror experience,  husband and wife team of paranormal investigators and authors Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren     (Vera Farmiga) travel to north London to help Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor), a single mother raising four children in a house plagued by malicious spirits.  The Hodgsons are too poor to replace the furniture that came with the purchased house—a burden aggravated by the classmates’ bullying of her young son, a stutterer.  All siblings of the house and their mother witness paranormal events occurring right before their eyes, terrifying them and forcing them to seek shelter in their neighbor’s house. During a media interview with the Hodgsons, the younger daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) is possessed by the ill-meaning spirit of Bill Wilkins, the previous owner of the house who had died in a chair in the corner of the living room.  As Janet begins to show more signs of demonic possession, the story eventually reaches the Warrens in California, who are requested to assist the local Church in the investigation.
       The Conjuring 1 (2013) is best remembered for its spine-tingling “clapper” whose somewhat comic-horrific presence in the trailer aroused the interest of horror fans worldwide.  The “clapper” is nowhere to be found—or heard—in the much awaited The Conjuring 2, but the sequel is no less hair-raising.  Malaysian born Australian director Wan  (Saw, Insidious, Furious 7) has certainly mastered his tricks, producing yet another rarity in the horror genre: an excellent sequel with unexpected depth and tenderness.  While there is no shortage of jolts, jumps, and chokeholds in this film, its best parts are found in footages that explore the effects of terror on the lives of people it touches: the haunted family, the media, the police, the Warrens.  Now known as the Enfield Poltergeist case that shook the London press in 1977—curiously the same years director James Wan was born—it has since become one of the most extensively documented cases in the world’s haunting history.
       Perfectly cast as the Warrens, Farmiga and Wilson embody the real life compassion of the Warrens.  In roles performed with sensitivity by Wilson and Farmiga, the Warrens come to a case with feet solidly planted in their Catholic faith.  They are not simply demonologists or exorcists out to fight evil and emerge as heroes; they are keenly aware that while the supernatural fight between them and the devil goes on, the family-victims must be helped in the natural realm, too.  In The Conjuring 2, the Warrens live with the Hodgsons during the investigation; on Christmas eve, as they all gather in the living room as an odd family, Ed picks up a guitar and croons “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”, exchanging meaningful glances with Lorraine while spoofing Elvis Presley.  For the first time in the film, the Hodgsons children and their mother are happy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

X-men: Apocalypse

DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer LEAD CAST:  James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till  SCREENWRITER:  Simon Kinberg  PRODUCER:  Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Bryan Singer, Hutch Parker  EDITOR:  John Ottman, Michael Louis Hill  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  John Ottman  GENRE:  Action and Adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Superhero film CINEMATOGRAPHER: Newton Thomas Sigel   DISTRIBUTOR:  20th Century Fox  LOCATION:  United States RUNNING TIME: 144 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V14
MTRCB rating: PG
The film opens with an event that happened thousands of years ago in Egypt—the ancient powerful mutant Apocalypse is being betrayed by his followers, keeping him entombed for centuries. Then fast forward to Year 1983—about ten years after the events of Days of Future Past, Charles Xavier aka Professor X (James McAvoy) is still running his school for the gifted that helps young mutants control their powers. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) on the other side of the earth is hiding and trying to live a peaceful, ordinary life with a new family—until a tragedy strikes. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is trying to escape the limelight that came with saving the world back in 1973 and is traveling in secret, saving mutants around the world from dangerous and terrible situations. Meanwhile, Apocalypse awakens from thousands of years of slumber—and poses a threat to re-shape or destroy the world as he had planned before in his evil likeness. He recruits his new four horsemen—Storm, Angel, Psylocke, and Magneto—to join forces with him as he is out to destroy Professor X and his mutant allies along with entire humankind.
X-Men Apocalypse is another visual spectacle meant to keep up with the hype of its previous installments and franchise. The film may be successful visually in terms of computer graphic effects, but it utterly fails to deliver a solid story. The entire running time is wasted on useless pursuits—like the weak villain who appears to be of ultimate power and strength yet still invests in recruiting mutants to back him up. The film lacks centrality; the point-of-view is confusing with varied character arcs and incohesive subplots.  In its entirety, the film is entertaining yet lacks soul despite stunning performances of the lead casts and impressive visuals. It feels tiresome and convoluted with too many characters and elements. Despite its apparent flaws, however, the concept of the franchise is still genius and one cannot discount the fact that it takes extra-ordinary talent to come out with such a consistent blockbuster.
This latest franchise of the popular series now takes on a macro-perspective with a central theme of an ultimate evil out to destroy the world, still at the backdrop of humans gifted with superhuman capacities tagged as mutants. The gift or power is seen in the film as having the potential of being either a blessing or a curse to humankind. While Professor X sees it as a blessing that needs to be enhanced for the betterment of humanity, here comes Apocalypse whose selfish interest would make him use his power to destroy the world. With that, the battle is between good and evil, with the good at times confusing our notion of good with their evil looks. This goes to show that goodness lies in the heart and is always beyond what the naked eye can see, as humans tend to be inhuman at times in wrongfully judging the other as evil based only on outer appearance. Still, the values presented in the film should be emulated—faith in the true God, the power of good over evil, team-spirit and cooperation, self-control over one’s power to use it for greater good, courage and bravery to fight for what is right. Humans may well learn from mutants—that they have gifts, unique gifts that must be enhanced and used for the purpose of making this world a better place to live in. Given the dominant theme of darkness and of visuals and images that are quite disturbing although in context, CINEMA finds X-Men Apocalypse as appropriate only for viewers 14 and above.


DIRECTOR: Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez  LEAD CAST: Tom Rodriguez, Denise Laurel, Joonee Gamboa, Ejay Falcon, Albie Casino, Yam Concepcion, Ricky Davao, Kim Domingo, Dina Bonnevie  SCREENWRITER: Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, Henrie Famorcan Enaje, Henrie Dela Cruz  PRODUCER:  Jojo and Susan Dispo (Felix and Bert Productions)  EDITOR:  George Jarlego  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Francis Deveyra  GENRE: Political thriller (Indie Film), Action, Drama  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Topel Lee  LOCATION:  Philippines RUNNING TIME: 143 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 2
CINEMA rating: V 14
Matagal nang kilala ang pamilya Magtanggol bilang mga makabayan at masugid na tagapagtanggol ng mga naaapi.  Isa sa kanila ay si Juancho Magtanggol na walang takot na naninidigan para sa mga karapatan ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) sa kabila ng mga balakid at batikos ng mga kalaban.  Ang angkan ng mga Magtanggol ay mayroon ding mga hindi pagkakaunawaang namamagitan sa iba’t ibang pamilya nila, ngunit sususporta sila sa senador na kaanak nang ito’y haharap bilang pangunahing suspect sa pagpatay ng mga abusandong amo ng mga OFWs.
Ayon sa prodyuser ng pelikula, si Gng. Susan Dispo, ginawa nila ang Magtanggol bilang isang advocacy.  Ang bahagi ng kikitain nito sa takilya, diumano, ay inilalaan tungo sa pagpapatayo ng isang gusaling matitirhan ng mga OFWs habang pinoproseso nila ang kanilang mga dokumento pa-abroad.  Mula sa kuwentong katha ng kabiyak niyang si Jojo Dispo, ang Magtanggol ay tinanggihan ng malalaking mga producers at networks pagka’t ang hanap ng mga ito ay mga popular na kwento ng romansa.  Gayun pa man, itinuloy nila ang pelikula.  “Batid naming ang mga hirap na pinagdaraanan ng mga OFWs, ang mga sakripisyo nila mapuno lamang ang mga Balikbayan boxes na ipinadadala nila sa Pilipinas tuwing pasko at gitna ng taon, at nais naming makatulong sa kanila,” ani Gng. Dispo tungkol sa mga manggagawang nag-aangat ng ekonomiya ng bansa.
Maliit ang budget ng Magtanggol, at may puntong halos sumuko na ang mga Dispos dahil sa bumibigat na gastos, pero pinalad silang makasama ang mga malalaking artistang naniniwala sa kanilang adbokasiya, pahayag ng mga Dispos sa press conference noong mag-premiere ang pelikula kamakailan sa SM Mall of Asia.  Ayon kay Dina Bonnevie, “Ang tutok ng pelikula ay upang pangalagaan ang OFWs, kaya nga iyon ang pamagat nito. Ano ang ipagtatanggol mo? Ang adhikain mo na hindi malinis, ‘yung gusto mong mangyari sa buhay mo na nakakasakit ka ng ibang tao pero kapag ginawa mo ay may makakamkam kang pera o ipagtatanggol mo ba ang dangal at pangalan ng pamilya mo o ang dangal at pangalan ng Pilipino?”  Dapat lamang na ipagpatuloy ng industriya ang paggawa ng mga pelikulang may “social relevance”, ayon sa artista.  Kapag nagustuhan ito ng publiko, ani Gng. Dispos, gagawa ulit sila ng isa pang pang pelikulang makakatulong sa ating mga kababayan, at susuportahan ng mga manonood na gusto ring sa kapwa. makatulong   At ito, ayon sa CINEMA, ang halaga ng Magtanggol bilang isang pelikula—ang magkaroon ng adhikaing makapaglingkod sa ikabubuti ng kapwa at lipunan sa pamamagitan ng pelikula. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Now you see me 2

DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu  LEAD CAST: Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco  SCREENWRITER: Ed Solomon  PRODUCER:  Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci  EDITOR: Stan Salfas  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Bryan Tyler  GENRE: Action/Comedy  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Peter Deming  DISTRIBUTOR: Summit Entertainment  LOCATION:  USA, China RUNNING TIME:  127 minutes
Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment:  2.5
CINEMA rating:  V14
Two years after the events after Dylan (Ruffalo) put Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman) behind bars for allegedly being one of the reasons for his father’s untimely death, the Four Horsemen are recalled to expose the unethical practices of a Tech magnate. The 3 original magicians Danny (Eisenberg), Meritt (Harrelson) and Jack (Franco) are joined by Lula (Caplan) and prepare for their comeback performance under the supervision of their leader Dylan. But the collaborative efforts of Thaddeus, Walter (Radcliffe) and Merrit’s evil twin, their plan is thwarted and their identities exposed. Even their escape plan is thwarted as the Four Horsemen find themselves in Macau where Walter, apparently one of the investors of Tressler (Caine), is itching for payback unless they still for him a special chip which can access and control the entire computer system of the world. Meanwhile, Dylan strikes a deal with Thaddeus to find and rescue his friends.
Now You See Me 2 still carries a problematic storyline line with its ambitious desire to create complications, depth and sudden reveals. Most of them come off as irrational and confusing, especially how Thaddeus is suddenly a good guy. However, John Chu, who takes over Louis Leterrier, brings with his directorial style a suave entertainment and engaging humor. The actors seem to be more at ease and confident with their roles that they effortlessly lure us into their lives and emotions. Caplan’s Lalu adds more sparkle to the group and Harrelson totally sold his personality that producers duplicated his character. The magic tricks are not as impressive as those in the first movie but there are notable moments, like the card passing sequence and the Opening Billboard. Overall, Now You See Me 2 is not necessarily an improvement story-wise but is definitely more appealing as a relaxation weekend movie.

While the very premise of a group using their respective talents to expose unethical practices and punish criminals may carry some romantic sanction, viewers should not overlook that vigilante justice is neither honorable nor morally acceptable. This, has been the battlecry of Dylan in the first movie but this time he lets go of personal grudges, compromises and sacrifices himself for the sake of friends, and learns to forgive and forget—thus becoming the person, or magician, he is meant to be. Once, we learn to perfect our talents, not for self-serving reason but for other people, then we are able to discover how much better and more beautiful a person we can become. However, the ending scene implies two things. One, that there will be another sequel/job for the Four Horsemen. Second, that the group is to function outside the law under the supervision of The Eye, who decides who to expose, who to punish and how it should be done. The very young audience might be too engrossed by the glossy entertainment and ignore that Robinhoods and vigilantes are not the ideal heroes they should imitate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The nice guys

DIRECTOR: Shane Black  STARRING: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger, Ty Simpkins  PRODUCER: Joel Silver  EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Anthony Bagarozzi, Ken Kao, Michael J. Malone, Hal Sadoff  CO-PRODUCERS: Aaron Auch, Ethan Erwin  WRITERS: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi  FILM EDITOR: Joel Negron  MUSIC:  David Buckley, John Ottman  CINEMATOGRAPHY: Philippe Rousselot  ART DIRECTOR: David Utley  PRODUCTON DESIGNER: Richard Bridgland  SOUND DESIGNER: James Harrison COSTUME DESIGNER: Kym Barrett  GENRE: Action, Mystery, Comedy  PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Silver Pictures, Waypoint Entertainment, RatPac-Dune Entertainment  DISTRIBUTORS: Warner Bros. Pictures  COUNTRY: United States  LANGUAGE: English RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes
Technical assessment:  3.5        Moral assessment: 2.5
CINEMA rating:  V18
In 1970s Los Angeles, bumbling private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) become unlikely partners when they find themselves both looking for a missing woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) following the death of a high-profile porn star. Amelia's ties to the deceased actress are unclear, but as other members of the porn industry turn up dead, March and Healy's investigation reveals a much bigger conspiracy than the duo could have ever anticipated. With the help of March's teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), their sleuthing eventually unearths a shocking corruption scandal that reaches up to the highest circles of power. (Review to follow)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows

DIRECTOR: Dave Green  LEAD CAST: Laura Linney, Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi,  PRODUCERS: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Scott Mednick, Galen Walker  SCREENWRITER: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec  EDITOR: Jim May, Bob Ducsay  CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lula Carvalho  MUSIC: Steve Jablonsky  GENRE: Science Fiction  BASED ON: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird  PRODUCTION COMPANY: Nickelodeon Movies, Platinum Dunes, Gama Entertainment, Mednick Productions, Smithrowe Entertainment  DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures LOCATION: United States  RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
Technical assessment: 2.5
Moral assessment:  2.5
CINEMA rating: V14
When the evil Shredder (Brian Tee) escapes from prison with the help of Dr. Baxter (Tyler Perry), a scientist, he develops his own mutants Bebop and Rocksteady. Together with the deranged extraterrestrial Krang (voice by Brad Garrett), they unite to pursue world domination.  The Turtles Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michael Angelo team up with April O’Neil (Megan Fox), news reporter Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) and their new vigilante friend Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) to defend New York City from destruction.  The Turtles also face an impending invasion from Krang.  (Review to follow)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Warcraft: the beginning

DIRECTION: Duncan Jones; STARRING: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Daniel Wu, Ben Schnetzer;   STORY: Chris Metzen based on the animated video game;  SCREENPLAY: Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones;  CINEMATOGRAPHY: Simon Duggan; EDITING: Paul Hirsch;  PRODUCER: Charles Roven, Alex Gartner, Stuart Feneran; GENRE: Action Fantasy; LOCATION: Azaroth; DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures; RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes
Technical assessment: 2.5
Moral assessment: 2.5
CINEMA rating: V14
MTRCB rating: PG13
Gul’dan (Wu), an Orc warlock, wants to lead the Orc race out of their dying world, Draenor, into the world of men and elves, Azeroth. But Gul’dan’s magic, called the Fel, which opens the portal to the new world is fueled by the life force of captives. In order to have more sacrificial prisoners, Gul’dan leads a small army into Azeroth. Despite their doubts, Durotan (Kebbell), the chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, his pregnant wife Draka (Galvin) and his friend Orgrim join the army. Meanwhile, Sir Lothar (Fimmel), military commander of the kingdom of Stormwind and the King’s brother-in-law, captures Khadgar (Schnetzer), a young mage investigating the raids on human villages. He notices that the villagers’ death was caused by the Fel and convinces Lothar and the King to consult with the guardian Medivh (Foster) about the sinister magic. Following his instincts, Khadgar discovers that the orc could not have opened the portal without help from Azeroth while Durotan realizes the Fel consumes the very world were Gul’dam resides and in time will turn Azeroth as decayed as Dreanor. In time, Medivh is revealed to have been consumed by the Fel and the traitor who opened the portal for the orcs.
Warcraft has a ready market—the hundreds of DOTA players familiar with the characters and quirks of the game. This must have been the rationalization of the film’s producers for wanting to come up with this franchise. However, banking on the online players might have been a mistake more than an advantage because the game does not have a narrative—the film’s attempt to add drama felt feeble, forced, and dragging. The game is about strategy; the movie wants to venture on drama. The result is a storyline so simple, unoriginal, and confusing for non-players, as there are just too many names and concepts to follow. The performances are mediocre and fail to endear any of the characters to the audience. Nobody cared for anyone—not even the cute little baby orc left to float in the river by its mother. But what it lacks in content is salvaged by its elaborate visual styles, rich textures, and amazing integration of motion capture that maintains soulful and expressive eyes. Overall, there are some good technical elements here and there but not enough to qualify for a movie. In the future, the producers should just stick to the video game.

Warcraft tries to tackle concepts familiar to epic adventure genres. In broad strokes, it delivers the importance of honor over victory, brotherhood and loyalty over ambition and courage over hopelessness, but the violence that is pre-packaged because it is based on a war game supersedes whatever moral or ethical values the film may have.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Love me tomorrow

Director:  Gino Santos  Cast:  Piolo Pascual, Dawn Zulueta, Colleen Garcia  Screenwriter:  Jeff Stelton, G3 San Diego  Producer: Star Cinema  Genre:  Drama, Romance  Location:  Philippines  Running time: 110 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: V14
MTRCB Rating:  PG13
Ipinapasyal ni Christina Gonzales (Dawn Zulueta) ang kanyang aso sa isang mall nang bigla itong tatakbo at dadambahin ang pagkain ni DJ Jaycee (Piolo Pascual).  Magkakakilala silang dalawa at magkakalapit sa kabila ng pagiging presko ni Jaycee kay Christina. Isang biyuda na nagsisimula sa clothing design business si Christina at pamosong disk jockey  o DJ sa disco bar naman si Jaycee; malaki ang agwat ng kanilang mga edad.  Magiging instrumento ang  muling pagkikita nina Christina at ng dating kaklase na si Angie (Carmi Martin)  sa magiging relasyon niya kay Jaycee. Hilig kasi ni Angie at ng mga amiga nitong mga PR ang mag istambay sa mga bar.  Sasama lagi si Christina sa kanila habang tinutulungan siya ng mga ito na pasikatin ang kanyang mga clothing designs. Magiging modelo niya sa gawang kasuotan ang kaibigan at sexual partner ni Jaycee na si Janine (Coleen Garcia).
May kakaibang dating ang temang May-December affair sa Love Me Tomorrow.  May hatid itong kilig sa kabila ng malaking agwat ng edad nina Zulueta at Pascual gayundin sa mga tauhan na kanilang ginampanan. Kaabang-abang ang mga eksena at di predictable ang wakas. Subalit di ito nakaligtas sa tipikal na wakas ng pelikulang Pilipino na may special participation ng mga bagong partners para feel good. Di mapapasubalian ang husay ni Zulueta sa pagganap at magandang projection niya sa screen.  Bagay sa kanya ang karakter ni Christina  Gonzales. Samantala medyo asiwa naman ang papel na ginampanan ni Pascual na preskong DJ pa din sa edad na 35 at may ka-FUBU (f--k buddy) na 25 anyos. Ganun paman ay nabawi ng mahusay na trato ng director ang ilang sablay sa pagtalaga ng tauhan sa kwento. Makahulugan din ang palitan ng mga linya lalo na ang mga narration ni Christina Gonzales sa bandang huli. Maganda ang disenyo ng produksyon pati ang mga sinematograpiya.  Naipakita ang kaibahan ng mga sex scenes sa pagitan ng “FUBU” na tila nagpaparaos lang at ng nagmamahalan na may passion. Mahusay ang mga inilapat na musika lalo na ang pagtatampok sa theme song na Love Me Tomorrow sa saliw ng remix. Akma rin ang tunog at ilaw.    
Dahil ang pag-ibig ay isang damdamin na di kumikilala ng tama at mali, pagkakataon ito na gamitin ang pag-iisip upang maging maayos ang lahat para sa mga taong sangkot.  Ang tunay na pagmamahal ay may pang-unawa, sakripisyo at pagpapalaya para sa minamahal.  Sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay dapat maging mapagmatyag ang tao sa kani-kanilang kahinaan. Ito ang hindi nangyari sa malaking bahagi ng pelikula sapagkat  lahat ay bumigay at sinikap na lamang isalba sa bandang huli. Salamat at umiral ang wisdom ng pagiging ina ni Christina bago natapos ang pelikula. Nakababahala ang ipinakitang casual sex sa pagitan ng magkaibigan at ng babaeng may edad sa mas bata sa kanila, pati mga preskong salita ng isang lalaki sa babae na mas matanda sa kanya, sulutan sa negosyo, at insecurities.  Gayundin, maaring akalain ng mga manonood na okay lang ang napakabilis na pagkahulog sa isang  preskong DJ ng isang 50-anyos na biyuda na maayos na nakapagpalaki ng mga anak at nagsisimula ng disenteng career. Sagana sa vulgar words na iningles lang para “pa-class” ang dating.  Alalayan sa paliwanag ang mga anak ninyong manonood nito na may murang isipan, anuman ang edad.

My candidate

DIRECTOR: Quark Henares  CAST: Derek Ramsay, IzaCalzado, Shaina Magdayao, Nico Antonio, Ketchup  PRODUCER: Joji Alonso  SCREENPLAY: Chris Costello, Mikael de Lara Co  CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ma. Solita Garcia  CREATIVE PRODUCER: Dan Villegas  PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Quantum Films, MJM Productions, Tuko Film Productions at Butchi Boy Films  DISTRIBUTORS: Quantum Films  LOCATION: Philippines  GENRE: Romantic Comedy  DURATION: 105 mins.
Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating:  V13
Nais mag-level up sa kanyang political career ang kasalukuyang Congressman na si Sonny Suarez (Derek Ramsey). Mula sa pagiging kinatawan ng distrito ay tatakbo siya sa national position bilang senador. Galing sa kilalang angkan ng mga politiko si Sonny. Maayos ang kanyang records at educational credentials. Subalit iba ang usapan kapag national level ang labanan, kailangan ni Sonny ng ibayong karisma upang makilala at mapalapit sa tao. Kinontrata ng team ni Sonny ang serbisyo ng communication expert na si Billie Pono (Shaina Magdayao) upang bigyan ng make-over sa pakikisalamuha ang Congressman. Sa kabila ng natural na pagkailang sa tao ay nagiging epektibo ang mga pointers na binibigay ni Billie kay Sonny. Lalong iigting ang kooperasyon sa pagsasanay sa pagsulpot ng tila magiging mahigpit na katunggali ni Sonny sa katauhan ng kanyang dating kasintahan na si Vera Chavez (Iza Calzado). Apektado si Sonny sa pagtakbo ni Vera dahil nga hinaluan ng isyung politika ang kanilang nakaraan na labis niyang dinamdam. Subalit ang mas higit palang maapektuhan ay ang communication trainer na si Billie at ang napipinto nilang pagkahulog sa isa’t isa.
Katulad ng sinasaad ng titulo, napapanahon ang pelikulang My Candidate.  Pinalabas ito sa mga sinehan dalawang araw matapos ang pambansang halalan. Tumalakay ng mga isyung personal sa mga kandidato na pumapalaot sa pulitika. Nakasentro ang kwento sa karakter ni Sonny, sa kanyang political dreams, at sa mga relasyon na masisira at mabubuo dahil sa pulitika. Mahusay ang trato ng direktor sa pinaghalong satire, romance, at comedy. Di tulad ng ibang may katulad na tema, ang My Candidate ay nakaaaliw at magaan panoorin, Maganda ang mga communication pointers na makakatulong sa pakikisalamuha ng tao kahit wala sa pulitika. Maganda ang cinematography, makakatotohanan ang mga kuha, at malinis ang editing. Pinalutang ng mga ito ang magandang disenyo ng produksyon.  Akma ang mga inilapat na tunog, ilaw at musika.  Mahusay ang mga pagganap ng mga pangunahing tauhan lalo na sina Ramsey at Calzado, may pagka OA naman ang dating ng acting ni Magdayao sa ilang mga eksena ng training nya kay Sonny. Sa kabuuan ay maganda ang teknikal na aspeto ng pelikula.

Higit sa pagiging politiko na itinataas palagi ang sarili sa panahon ng kampanya at kadalasan ay may mga pansariling interes, paglilingkod ang pangunahin para sa sinumang nagnanais na maging isang public servant. Ito ang isa sa mga naging mensahe ng pelikulang My Candidate. Gayunpaman, ang pag-aaral at pagpapalago ng kasanayan at kaalaman ay panghabang buhay kahit sa anong larangan—tulad ng pulitika at sa pakikipagrelasyon. Binigyan-diin sa pelikula ang kahalagahan ng communication sa pakikisalamuha at pagtulong sa kapwa. Makakatulong sa mga manonood ang mga puntos na itinuro ni Billie kay Sonny para mas maging mabisa ang kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan.  Ipinakita din sa pelikula na pwedeng maging instrumento ang isang tao upang lalong lumago at magtagumpay ang kapwa. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon ay tiyak din ang pakikinabang sa sariling paglago katulad ng nangyari kay Billie, na sa pagtulong kay Sonny ay marami ding natutunan para sa kanyang sariling paglago.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Direction: Drake Doremus; Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver; Story: Drake Doremus; Screenplay: Nathan Parker; Cinematography: John Guleserian; Editing: Jonathan Alberts; Music: Sascha Ring, Dustin O’Halloran; Producers: Michael Pruss, Chip Diggins, etc; Genre: Romance-Drama; Location: Future Distributor: A24; Running Time: 101 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating:  V14
MTRCB rating:  R13
Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart) live in a dystopian society where emotions, physical contact and relationship are prohibited and treated as a dysfunction. But for these two, the attraction transcends the oppressive culture. Do they sacrifice their safety to give in to their emotions or do they fight for their freedom to choose love? More importantly, can society exist on plain rules and policies alone?
There is nothing new in the film, plot-wise. We have seen and heard the same issues in films like Gattaca. Symbolisms are thrown here and there but not explored deep enough. The screenplay is quite simple and predictable. However, the movie excels in its production design and artistry. The clinical cleanness of the scenes brings iciness to match its theme. The setting provides a perfect contrast to the burning passion Silas and Nia have to bury. And these alone provide the tension to make the ordinary love story interesting. Kristen and Hoult have good onscreen chemistry and enough charm to make the audience root for their happy ending.
Society is hypocritical when on the one hand it tells you emotions and relationship are intrinsic to human survival but on the other hand expect you to use your head and be very objective in decisions to succeed in a capitalist world. In Arts and in marketing, emotions are emphasized but in business and politics they are tossed aside. Equals seems to be a commentary on this dichotomy with a clear annotation that it is impossible for human beings to live without emotions to express themselves. Because this is a love story, it will be inclined to stress how human emotions will take over systems. And because it is targeted for young adults and teenagers, it sends the message that human beings are expected to defy heaven and earth for the sake of love. And then we end up with rebellious, confused, self-absorbed youngsters who think they are saving the world when they are in the embrace of their beloved. While we believe emotions are necessary for a person’s holistic growth, emotions do not necessarily supersede systems and rules. There should be a balance that comes with moral ascendancy and discernment. The movie is clean and safe but delivers simplified messages that are easily misconstrued but younger minds.