The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication-CBCP

CINEMA (Catholic INitiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation) of The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines presents movies viewed in the light of the gospel. . *** For inquiries, please EMAIL: cbcpcinema@gmail.com *** CALL or TEXT: (02) 664 5886 *** or WRITE TO: CINEMA, Episcopal Commission on Social Communication, CBCP Compound, 470 General Luna St. Intramuros, Manila *** Enjoy the reviews, and THANK YOU!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Orphan

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett; Director: Jaume Collet-Sera; Producers: Leonardo DiCaprio, Susan Downey, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Joel Silver; Screenwriters: David Johnson, Alex Mace; Music: John Ottman; Editor: Timothy Alverson; Genre: Drama/ Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller; Cinematography: Jeff Cutter; Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures; Location: Toronto, Canada; Running Time: 123 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

Following a miscarriage, Kate and John Coleman (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) decide to expand their family by adopting 9-year-old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) to add to their own, 12-year old Danny (Jimmy Bennett) and 5-year old deaf-mute Max (Aryana Engineer). In a refuge run by Catholic nuns, the couple is charmed by the artistically-inclined Esther, a prim and proper 9-year-old orphan of Russian descent. Max and Esther click right away, with Esther easily learning sign language. Danny, however, begins to feel frustrated, thinking the new girl is getting too much attention from everybody, particularly his dad. Esther’s serious mien and taste for “Little Bo-Peep” clothes alienate her from other children in school, and make Danny the butt of jokes among his peers. When Kate catches Esther playing with Max on the frozen pond—a forbidden area—she becomes sensitive to Esther’s certain actuations, although she is ready to dismiss them as childish quirks. When the orphanage administrator Sr. Abigail (CCH Pounder) visits the Coleman home to check on the adopted child’s progress, Kate discovers that hardly anything is documented about Esther’s past. The nun also informs Kate that while Esther herself does not get into trouble, trouble “comes to her”, citing the recorded disasters that took place when she was around. The nun doesn’t return home; days later she is found dead in the wood. Kate’s hunches become stronger but John shrugs these off as the fears of a recovering alcoholic.

An engaging story combines with great acting to put this thriller several notches above the ordinary evil-child movie. With her seemingly innate ability to unsettle audiences, Farmiga delivers an intense and sensitive performance, portraying a conflicted character most credibly. She and Saarsgard display a full-bodied chemistry that makes marriage appear to be such an appealing option. There is also electrifying interaction between Farmiga and Fuhrman—keeping the viewer in suspense about what could go on between a vulnerable foster mother and a secretive, precocious adopted child. Crisp editing and camera work add to the realism that would keep the audience at the edge of their seats for 123 minutes.

For a sweet and well-mannered 9-year-old girl to be so vile, one could only guess she’s the devil incarnate. Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, The Demon Seed—they all belong to a league in which Orphan could be the anointed princess. There are many lessons to be learned from this masterpiece of a thriller: don’t laugh at other people’s weird fashion taste; don’t leave an unconscious hospital patient unattended; nuns shouldn’t be out driving alone; don’t trust a child simply because she is a child; and lastly, investigate an orphan’s past before adopting. But maybe you wouldn’t want to adopt anymore after watching this film. The few minutes towards the end explain it all, and logically weave together into one cohesive and credible story all that wickedness and depravity in one who has lived for nine short years. The movie is about children, but it’s definitely not for children. CINEMA would allow it for viewers 18 and above, for its delicate theme and content.

Oh My Girl!

Cast: Judy Ann Santos, Ogie Alcasid, Roderick Paulate, Carmi Martin, Manilyn Reynes, Nova Villa, John Prats, Jon Avila; Director: Dante Nico Garcia; Producer: Lily Monteverde; Screenwriters: Tanya Bautista, Dante Nico Garcia, Jose Garlitos, Raymond Lee; Music: Von de Guzman; Editor: Danny Anonuevo; Cinematography: Odyssey Flores; Distributor: Regal Films; Location: Philippines; Running Time: 105 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Isang malalim na pagkakaibigan ang nabuo sa mga ulilang sina Biboy (Ogie Alcacid) at Opao (Judy Ann Santos) noong sila ay magkasama sa bahay ampunan. Nang ampunin ng isang palaos nang artista (Carmi Martin) si Opao, ay hindi na ito muling nakita ni Biboy. Lilipas ang maraming taon pero hindi pa rin makalimutan ni Biboy si Opao. Buong buhay niya’y wala siyang ginawa kundi isipin si Opao at hanapin kung nasaan ito. Sa wakas ay kanyang matatanto na si Opao ay si Darling na ngayon – ang pinakasikat na artista ng kasalukuyang henerasyon. Palibhasa’y walang yaman o kasikatan na maipagmamalaki, mahihirapan si Biboy na magpakilala o makalapit man lang kay Darling. Minsang sinundan ni Biboy ang shooting ng ginagawang patalastas ni Darling ay nangailangan ng ekstra makakasama ni Darling. Ngunit ang hinahanap na ekstra ay dapat isang matandang babae. Sa tulong ni Bob (John Pratts), magbibihis at mag-aayos si Biboy na parang isang matandang babae. Makukuha si Biboy na ekstra sa patalastas ni Darling at magsisimula na siyang makalapit dito. Mas lalo pa siyang mapapalapit kay Darling nang mangailangan ito ng personal na alalay. Subalit gustuhin man ni Biboy na magpakilala kay Darling ay mahihirapan siya sapagkat ang pakikilala niya dito ay isa siyang babae. Magkaroon pa kaya siya ng lakas ng loob na aminin kay Opao/ Darling na siya si Biboy?

Sa biglang tingin ay aakalain na isang matinong katatawanan ang Oh My Girl dahil sa mga bigatin nitong mga artista at de-kalibreng mga manunulat at direktor na kinikilalang magagaling sa industriya. Ngunit isang malaking kabiguan ang pelikula. Nabigo itong magbigay ng bagong bihis sa isang lumang kuwento ng pagkakaibigan at pag-ibig. Bigo itong magbigay ng kilig dahil walang dating ang tambalan ng dalawang pangunahing tauhan. Lalo pa itong nabigong patawahin ang manonood dahil lumabas na pilit ang pagpapatawa at hilaw ang mga ginamit nitong pangkiliti. Sayang kahit pawang ginaya sa pelikulang banyaga ang konsepto ng Oh My Girl, ay mukhang maganda naman ang intensiyon nitong bigyan ng panibagong putahe ang Pinoy comedy ngunit ang kinalabasan ay parang minadali na lamang nila ang pelikula at hindi na gaanong pinagtuunan ng pansin ang kaledad. At higit na nasayang ang galing ng mga artistang nagsiganap. Anumang talino nila sa pag-arte ay hindi nagsagip sa malabis na kakulangan sa kuwento ng pelikula.

Isang kuwento ng wagas na pag-ibig ang Oh My Girl. Isang pag-iibigang nakaugat sa pagkakaibigan at hindi nagbago sa paglipas ng panahon. Maganda ang mensaheng ito ng pelikula ngunit dapat pagtunuunan ng pansin ang ilang naging paraan ng pangunahing tauhan na si Biboy upang makalapit kay Opao. Nagbihis at nagpanggap siyang babae para lamang mapalapit sa isang dating kababata. Nakakabahala ang ganitong pamamaraan ng pakikipaglaban alang-alang sa pag-ibig dahil bali-baligtaran man, isang matinding panloloko ito at pananamantala sa pagtitiwala ng isang tao. Naging malabis din ang isteryotipikal na paglalarawan sa mga matatanda, pangit, bakla, tomboy, mga alalay, starlets at bisaya. Sa mga aspetong ito, dapat gabayan ang mga batang manonood sapagkat maari nilang tularan ang kanilang mapapanood at maari nilang isiping ito ang tamang pagtrato sa mga taong pawang saliwa ang pagtingin ng lipunan. Nakakabahala rin na tila hindi man lamang nagkaron ng utang na loob ang dalawang pangunahing tauhan sa mga institusyong kumupkop at kumalinga sa kanila. Pinalalabas ba ng pelikula na ang mga bahay-ampunan sa halip na maging bahay-kalinga ay nagiging kulungan kung saan ang mga naririto'y walang ibang kaligtasan kundi ang pagtakas? Ipinakita pa naman nilang isa sa mga bahay-ampunan na ito ay pagmamay-ari ng isang relihiyosong kongregasyon. Masamang larawan ito para sa Simbahan na nagnanais lamang makagawa ng kabutihan sa lipunang labis ang kahirapan. Sa halip rin na pasasalamat ang isukli ni Opao/ Darling sa pagkupkop sa kanya, panay sama ng loob pa ang ibinubulalas nito sa tuwing mauungkat ang kanyang buhay.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Proposal


Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Mary White, Ramon Oscar Nuñez, Dennis O’Hore; Director: Anne Fletcher; Producers: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman; Screenwriter: Pete Chiarelli; Music: Aaron Zigman; Editor: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly; Genre: Romantic Comedy; Cinematography: Oliver Stapleton; Distributor: Touchtone Pictures; Location: USA; Running Time: 107 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Young and attractive, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), an executive and book editor of a New York publishing empire, comes across also as tyrannical. Demanding, she so intimidated her staff that they panic once she enters her office. Though seeming invulnerable, one day she gets a notice from the U.S. Immigration office informing her of her imminent deportation to Canada due to an expired visa (She’s Canadian). She devises a plan to get the coveted visa, that is, by marrying her surprised assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). She proposes a sham marriage followed by a quickie divorce once she gets her visa. Often brow beaten and usually compliant, this time he refuses. But she blackmails him and bribes him by offering him an editorship in the office. Ambitious, he consents. Suspecting something fishy, the immigration officer warns them of the punishments for fraud and informs them they will be questioned on intimate matter including each other’s family. Though together in the office for 3 years, they virtually know nothing of each other. For familiarization, on the part of Margaret, they visit Andrew’s parents in Sitka, Alaska. Thinking Sitka is some God forsaken Alaska outpost, she gets the shock of her life when she instead sees a charming, urbanized town with warm welcoming people. Loving and very closely knit, Andrew’s wacky family is thrilled to know Andrew and Margaret are getting married. With no affection for each other, they have to pretend before family and friends that they are in love. This situation is the well spring of many embarrassment and funny moments.

The Proposal has a plot that is as old as the hills; two people who almost hate each other at the beginning end up getting to like each other, in spite of the madcap obstacles that come their way. Very predictable and formulaic but it does not bore. Cheerfully done, this romantic comedy with all its conventions entertains with its hilarious moments. The humor is devoid of vulgarity, though one embarrassing funny scene involves the two lead actors in the nude. The cinematography enhances the viewers’ pleasure. Though said to have been filmed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it replicates the pristine beauty of Alaska. The story is set in a picturesque town with chic, quaint shops (no fast foods or franchise chains) and a waterfront that looks like a tourist haven. This setting exudes a charm befitting this fantasy. Sandra Bullock is versatile as seen in various roles she has played in other movies, but her talent in this romantic comedy is remarkable in her convincing and likeable portrayal of the high-powered uptight New York woman (with the formidable look in pencil skirts and stiletto heels) who is touched and transformed by the loving embrace of Andrew’s family. Ryan Reynolds’ performance is just as commendable as he matches Sandra’s snappy banter and comic skills. Very good support is given by Mary Steenburgen and Nelson Craig as Andrew’s parents, Mary White as the 90 year old grandma and the preacher-exotic dancer Ramon.

The Proposal is entertaining and enjoyable. Scenes of family closeness, togetherness, affection, generosity and understanding will not fail to touch a chord in the hearts of those who value family relationships. It is heartwarming to see here depicted these “old fashioned” values still existing in some towns though practically lost in the fast rat race in the cities. The old grandma especially may be a bit bizarre in her antics but she delights us in her simplicity, wit, and respect for family traditions. On the other hand, there are some negative elements here that should not be glossed over. Like, for instance, the way marriage is viewed by Margaret and Andrew as a vehicle to attain ambition, power, or other mundane practical results like getting a visa. But this sadly happens in real life today. Young people getting married should always start life right and that is by getting the right perspective regarding marriage. Infused with love, marriage should primarily help fulfill each person’s quest for happiness and perfection as well as realize God’s plan. It should never be considered a mere tool for material advancements.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Sofia Vassilieva; Director: Nick Cassavetes; Producers: Mark Johnson, Chuck Pacheco, Scott L. Goldman; Screenwriters: Jeremy Leven, Nick Cassavetes; Music: Aaron Zigman; Editor: Jim Flynn, Alan Heim; Genre: Drama; Cinematography: Caleb Deschanel; Distributor: New Line Cinema; Location: USA; Running Time: 110 mins;

Technical Assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 4
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

In this film version of Jodi Picault’s best seller, My Sister’s Keeper, Kate, the daughter of lawyer Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patric) is diagnosed at age 5 with leukemia. To save her life, the couple agrees to do the untried: engineer a baby by in vitro fertilization to provide a perfect genetic match to the sick child. The baby, Anna, since birth becomes the donor for Kate’s needs, for blood, bone marrow, and stem cells. Alive at 16 instead of dying at age 5 as medically predicted, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) now needs a kidney to stay alive, but 11-year old Anna (Abigail Breslin) no longer wants to be her sister’s supplier of spare parts. She instead hires controversial lawyer Alexander Campbell (Alec Baldwin) and sues her parents to gain “medical emancipation”. In denial about Kate’s imminent death, Sara represents herself in court against her 11-year old daughter’s lawyer. The trial takes a surprise turn when the couple’s son Jesse (Evan Ellingson) bursts into a stunning revelation in court.

Besides a solid story and unsurpassably good casting as foundation for the film, director Nick Cassavetes’ My Sister’s Keeper has that subtle ability to emotionally affect its audience while continuing to engage their intelligence despite the occasional plot contrivances. The character-development is superb, with lead Diaz delivering the best performance yet of her acting career, surprising viewers with her dramatic flair and marking her graduation from romantic comedy roles she had also excelled at. Breslin is spunky, determined yet lovable and loving, and the bald Vassilieva makes a winning cancer patient who is cheerful and wise despite her losing battle with cancer. Every character in the sad story has issues of their own and the plot’s twists and turns reveal these in the rest: judge (Joan Cusack), Kate’s fellow patient and boyfriend Taylor (Thomas Dekker), lawyer Campbell, firefighting husband and father Patric, withdrawn son Ellingson. Flashbacks could demand viewers’ effort to situate but in time, through great dialogue, cinematography that captures both pathos and joys faithfully, and great makeup (Kate’s especially), all is understood.

Moral issues are definitely found here—from the start, in fact, when conceptualization is viewed through the eyes of the genetically engineered11-year old Anna. Right away one questions if it’s right for parents to produce another child to extend the life of another. No doubt it’s a happy, loving family, better than most families portrayed in American movies and other media, but how will they confront the consequences of misguided devotion? From birth, the engineered child’s body is practically mined to save her sister: she is coaxed, cajoled, bribed with ice cream as she cries and kicks her way into the operating room, knowing only the pain or inconvenience of medical procedures she is too young to willfully desire. She would be told that by doing so she is saving her sister’s life, but as she sells her gold necklace and raises $700 to offer as attorney’s fees because she “doesn’t want to be cut up anymore,” the viewer starts to root for her. Indeed, why can’t her mother see that the kidney transplant will only leave her with two sick children to look after, if it succeeds at all. If it fails, the dying one dies just the same, leaving the donor unable to enjoy a normal life; and if her remaining kidney fails, no one else in the family can donate. Will they then make another test-tube donor baby, or will this donor-child be virtually disposed of since she has served her purpose?

But how could a mother who did not carry a baby in her womb possibly see that? Test-tube baby Anna is not conceived in love, and if there was love at all, it was love for another child. Even the father Brian admits they “went against nature” in the conceptualization of Anna. The main issue here is a mother’s letting go, and the main message is, parents do not own their children. The viewer may think, this lawsuit wouldn’t have happened had they not created Anna in the first place. But in this development, if the viewer hears with the ears of faith, God speaks. God may have allowed Anna’s unorthodox birth, but in His time He tells the world what her parents missed in their blind devotion: that they are not God, but children are gifts from God. Anna, despite the cold and heartless circumstances surrounding her birth, emerges as the biggest gift in this story, eventually helping everyone else to see the light.

Manila

Cast: Piolo Pascual, Rosanna Roces, Jay Manalo, Alesandra de Rossi, Angelica Panganiban, Jiro Manio, Anita Linda; Director: Adolfo Alix, Jr., Raya Martin; Screenwriters: Adolfo Alix, Jr., Raya Martin; Genre: Drama; Cinematography: ; Distributor: Star Cinema; Location: Manila; Running Time: 90 mins;

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Dalawang kuwentong hango mula sa mga obra nina Ishmael Bernal at Lino Brocka, ang unang kuwento ay tungkol sa isang drug addict na si William (Piolo Pascual) na gagala-gala sa kalye ng Maynila, tila may kung anong hinahanap sa kawalan. Ito’y sa kabila ng pag-aalala ng ina niyang si Charito (Rosanna Roces) kung nasaan na siya. Sa kalye rin ng Maynila magsasanga-sanga ang ilan pang mga taong may kinalaman sa buhay ni William at sa pagkakalulong niya sa droga. Ang ikalawang kuwento naman ay tungkol sa isang bodyguard na si Philip (Piolo Pascual) na naninilbihan kay Barry (Jay Manalo) anak ng isang Congressman ng Maynila. Tapat ang paglilingkod ni Philip kay Barry sa pag-aakalang parang kapatid ang turing nito sa kanya. Ang katapatang ito ay masusubukan nang maka-enkuwentro ni Barry ang isang dating karibal. Makakapatay si Philip sa pagtatanggol kay Barry at dito niya mapatutunayan ang kawalang-saysay ng kanyang katapatan sa isang among tau-tauhan lamang ang turing sa kanya.

Masarap balikan ang ilang obra ng mga batikang Pilipinong direktor na naglagay sa Pilipinas sa mapa ng pandaigdigang sining. Ang mga pelikulang pinaghanguan ng Manila ay talaga namang maituturing na klasiko at nararapat lamang bigyan ng kaukulang paggalang. Maganda ang intensiyon ng Manila ngunit nagkulang ito sa akmang sinseridad na hinihinling ng kuwento. Sa halip na mapalutang pang lalo sa kasalukuyang panahon ang dalawang piling obra, ay lalo pang napalabo ang mensahe nito. Sayang at pawang magagaling pa naman ang mga nagsiganap. Maganda rin at mahusay ang kuha ng kamera pati na ang pag-iilaw. Hindi rin masyadong problema ang editing. Marahil ang tunay na problema ay ang kaiksian ng oras na inilaan nila para sa kabuuan ng pelikula. Pilit ipinagsiksikan sa iisang pelikula ang dalawang dapat sana’y malawak na istorya. Mahirap masundan ang emosyon sapagkat hindi malinaw ang pinanggagalingan ng bawat karakter. Sayang at malaki sana ang potensiyal ng pelikula na maihanay sa mga obrang pinaparangalan nito.

Isang masukal at malupit na gubat ang lungsod ng Maynila. Ito ang sinasabi ng pelikula. Ipinakita nito ang pinakamadidilim na kasuluksulukan ng Maynila. Ang dalawang magkaibang pangunahing tauhan ay sumisimbolo sa dalawang uri ng tao Maynila. Isang nagpakalunod sa masamang bisyo upang makalimutan ang mga realidad ng siyudad at isang humaharap dito nang buong katapatan sa pag-aakalang ito’y masusuklian ng kaginhawahan. Anu’t-anupaman, sina William at Philip ay larawan ng kadiliman at kawalang-pag-asa sa isang siyudad na siya sanang kakalinga sa mga tulad nila. Kung tutuusin ang kuwento ay nagpakita lamang ng isang parte ng mukha ng Maynila: ang kasamaan at kadiliman nito. Malinaw naman ang itensiyong ito ng pelikula. Hindi nga naman interesado ang mga manonood sa maganda, mapayapa at maaliwalas na buhay. Maaring tunay ang mga ipinakitang larawan ng Manila ngunit pawang hindi malinaw ang nais nitong iparating at kung anong klaseng imahe ng Maynila ang nais nilang ipakita sa ating mga kababayan at maging sa mga dayuhang manonood. Kung puros kawalan ng pag-asa at kabukutan ang ating makikita, ano nga ba ang nararapat na gawin? Marahil sinasabi rin ng pelikula na bawat isa sa atin ay may pananagutansa mga katulad nina William at Philip. Hindi lamang sila ang may kagagawan ng kung anong kapalaran nagkaroon sila. Malinaw na ang mismong lipunang kanilang ginagalawan ang nagtulak sa kanila sa maling landas. Dapat gabayan ang mga batang manonood upang maipaliwanag ito ng husto, kung hindi’y maitatanim sa kanilang isipan na ang Maynila ay isang malupit na siyudad sa mga mahihirap at walang lakas. Maaring ito nga ay totoong nangyayari ngunit dapat sana’y magpakita man lang ng kahit na isang kislap na pag-asa ang pelikula upang makapaghimok ng mga natutulog na damdaming makabayan.

Public Enemies

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochrane, Billy Crudup; Director: Michael Mann; Producer: Michael Mann; Screenwriters: Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman; Genre: Gangster- Action/Drama; Distributor: Universal; Location: 1930s Chicago, Florida, Miami; Running Time: 143mins;

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

The movie begins as 30 year old enigmatic gangster John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) reunites his gang after orchestrating a prison break. They proceed to rob banks in Chicago and living it all up in their nightlives. Meanwhile, FBI director, Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) is eager to get a boost for the agency and decides that closing in on Dillinger would do the job. He assigns special agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) on pursuing the “public enemy no. 1." However, Dillinger is smooth and popular and almost effortlessly evades being caught until a hotel personnel recognizes him when his crew takes a vacation in Miami . Dillinger is transferred to Indiana to stand trial but he escapes using a fake wooden gun. But life on the run proves difficult for him as he is forced to work with a new crew and the trigger-happy Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), and violence replaces the cool precision of their robberies. Will Dillnger’s charisma be able to save him from Purvis’ determination and the disaster of working with Nelson?

Public Enemies is based on the true-to-life story of the 1930s famous gangster and the FBI efforts to catch him. Mann delivers a tight action drama that thrills the audience completely. The cinematography is tight and the hand-held shots bring the audience in the scene. The production design is perfect and alive from sets to costumes to props. The action is provoking and the drama is brilliant. Performances from Depp, Bale, Cotillard and Crudup are strong and honest. This is perhaps one of the best action biopic films of the year.

Like most characters of a gangster film, Dillinger is presented as a sympathetic and even lovable character, which unfortunately makes us root for the bad guys. But we do see members of Dillinger’s gang meeting tragic and horrible ends, so in a way justice is served. Dillinger has many redeemable virtues like refusing to participate in kidnapping and his gentlemanliness; however robbery no matter how non-violent is still stealing, immoral and illegal. No matter how cool, cute or popular a criminal is, he is still doing something against the law and against morality. Criminals who are glamorized as sensitive and appealing characters on the big screen may create a distorted image for impressionable young viewers. The violence in the movie focuses more on Dillinger’s complexities; however, some situations and language may not be appropriate for young impressionable viewers, especially those who love Depp’s Jack Sparrow character. The gangster theme is better suited for older viewers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brutus; Ang Paglalakbay

Cast: Ronnie Lazaro, Yul Servo, Timothy Mabalot, Rhea Medina; Director: Tara Illenberger; Screenwriter: Tara Illenberger; Editor: Fiona Borres, Tara Illenberger; Genre: Drama; Distributor: Bonfire Productions/ Cinemalaya; Location: Mindoro; Running Time: 110 minutes;

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Sina Adag (Timothy Mabalot) at Bayang (Rhea Medina) ay dalawang batang Mangyan na nagbalak bumaba ng bundok at pumunta sa bayan nang may kani-kaniyang dahilan. Gusto ni Adag na makabili ng gamot para sa kanyang nakababatang kapatid samantalang si Bayang naman ay balak hanapin ang nawawalang kuya na hindi na bumalik matapos magpaalam na pupunta ng bayan. Upang makalikom ng panggastos ay nag-brutus sila sa mga illegal loggers kung saan ay mambubulabog sila ng mga troso at ilalakbay sa ilog gamit lamang ang kanilang balsa. Sa kanilang paglalakbay ay aanurin ang kanilang balsa dahil sa sama ng panahon. Sa kanilang pagkakaligaw sa gitna ng gubat ay makikilala nila ang isang grupo ng mga sundalo sa pamumuno ng isang sarhento (Ronnie Lazaro) na aakalin nilang dadakip sa kanila. Bagama’t mapapalapit sa kanila si Sarhento ay tatakasan pa rin nila ito. Dito naman nila makikilala si Carlito (Yul Servo) na isa palang rebelde na pinaghahanap ng militar. Maiipit sa gitna ng laban ng militar at rebelde sina Adag at Bayang habang namumulat ang kanilang mata’t isipan sa maraming katotohanan sa kanilang paligid.

Payak ang pagkakagawa ng Brutus: Ang Paglalakbay. Ngunit sa kabila na kapayakan nito ay lumutang ang tunay na yaman at diwa at pelikula. Ang lahat ng nagsiganap ay mahuhusay. Ang dalawang batang hindi kilala ay nagbigay ng natural na pag-ganap, tuloy nagmukhang dokumentaryo ang pelikula. Ipinamamalas nito ang hindi na karaniwang napapanood ng mga tao: ang buhay ng mga katutubo. Naipakita rin sa pelikula ang matulaing bulubundukin at ilog ng Mindoro, kasama na ang mayamang kultura ng mga Mangyan. Maayos ang daloy ng kuwento na bagama’t may kabagalan sa simula ay nagawa namang bawiin sa gitna hanggang wakas. Malalim ang karakterisasyon at malinaw ang pinaghuhugutan ng bawat karakter. Sa kanilang paglalakbay ay maihahatid ang manonood sa isang mundong bihirang silipin at sa payak na pamumuhay na talaga namang hitik sa puso at damdamin.

Mayaman din sa mensahe ng kabutihang-asal ang pelikula. Ipinakita sa mata ng dalawang inosenteng bata kung paanong ang kalikasan at mga katutubo ay nilalapastangan. Pati ang walang hanggang suliranin ng digmaan at kapayapaan ay tinalakay din nang walang kinikilingan. Tunay ngang sinira na ng modernisasyon hindi lamang ang kalikasan kundi pati na ang mayayamang kultura ng ating mga kapatid na katutubo. Sa una’y nakabahala kung paanong ang mga bata ay natututong gumawa ng bagay na labag sa batas, ngunit malinaw ang mensahe ng pelikula na hindi ito tama. Dahil sa pelikula ay mamumulat ang kaisipan ng mga manonood kung gaanong kalalang problema ang idinudulot ng ilegal na pagto-troso. Ang pagsira sa likas na yaman ay pagsira na rin sa buhay ng mga tao. Hitik din sa puso ang pelikula ukol sa kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating mga katutubo na pawang nawaglit na sa kamalayan ng gobyerno at lipunang abala sa pagpapayaman at pagpapayabong ng sariling interes. Sa usapin naman ng mga rebelde ay walang pinanigan ang pelikula. Ang sinumang nagkasala sa batas ay dapat maparusahan ngunit ipinakikita rin sa Brutus kung ano ang maaaring tunay na damdamin at saloobin ng mga rebelde. Tao rin silang nagmamalasakit sa kapwa bagama’t iba ang kanilang naging paraan. Sa gitna rin ng kanilang gulo ay maraming inosenteng buhay ang nadadamay. Higit sa lahat, malinaw ang mensahe ng pelikula ukol sa pagmamahal sa pamilya at kaibigan—ito ay hindi matatawaran at makakayang tumbasan ng kahit na anong yaman. Mawala man at malapastangan ang lahat ay mananatiling masaya ang buhay kung may pamilya at mga kaibigan na handang magmahal at magmalasakit.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman; Director: David Yates; Producers: David Barron, David Heyman; Screenwriters: Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling; Music: Nicholas Hooper; Editor: Mark Day; Genre: Fantasy Adventure; Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnnel; Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures; Location: Bjorli, Norway; Running Time: 153 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

The movie opens with the Death Eaters attacking London while Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) takes Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to befriend and unlock the memory of former Hogworts potions professor, Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) who once taught Tom Riddle—the young Lord Voldemort. Meanwhile, Harry’s nemesis Draco Malfoy and Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) have joined the Death Eaters. All the while, Harry is picking up magical tips from a mysterious character known as the Half-Blood Prince—a previous owner of the used Potions textbook Harry is now using. However, Harry and friends face a bigger challenge than the return of Lord Voldemort—raging adolescent hormones and teenage romance. Harry falls in love with Ginny Weasley (Bonni Wright) who unfortunately is already dating someone else and Hermoine (Emma Watson) is seething with jealousy when Lavander Brown decided Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) is the one for her.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE looks like a conduit to the climax to the whole Harry Potter series so in reality the movie does not really reach a climax. The battle scenes and love stories at times struggle for dominance and the movie could have benefited if the director made a clear choice are fantastic and breathtaking. This combined with great performances from the actors who have matured before the world makes the movie memorable and worthwhile.

While the violence, witchcraft and darkness are more subtle, parents are strongly advised to accompany their very young children when watching. Although the movie has several efforts to moralize—for instance, the code of honors of good witches, as well as values taught to Hogwart students—these values are only applied to up to a certain problem faced by the characters. Case in point, honesty is emphasized but in certain occasions stealing is tolerated.

The most powerful theme in the story is “fitting in”. Most characters crave for a sense of being part of a group and being accepted as himself. Take the Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy who joined Voldermort because of their innate desire to be accepted. Even Harry, who lost his parents and was raised by an unloving family, found confidence and strength in his friends at Gryffindor. The real magic of Harry Pottter lies not in the supernatural power or spells or potions but in finding a home for the heart where friendships and love are able to grow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hanna Montana; The Movie

ASSESSMENT ONLY
Cast: Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jason Earles, Emily Osment; Director: Peter Chelsom; Producers: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar; Screenwriter: Daniel Berendsen; Music: John Debney; Genre: Musical Performing Arts; Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures; Location: USA; Running Time: 102 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 4
CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

BRIEF FILM SYNOPSIS

Peter Chelsom directs teen superstar Miley Cyrus in this feature that brings the popular Disney Channel character Hannah Montana to the big screen. With a crazy double life in California as an everyday teen with the secret pop-star persona Hannah Montana, Miley Stewart (Cyrus) has forgotten who she really is. To get her back on track, Miley's dad, Robby Ray Stewart (Miley's real-life father, Billy Ray Cyrus), decides that she needs time back on the family farm in Tennessee to celebrate Grandma Ruby's (Margo Martindale) birthday. At first, Miley is belligerent, but with the help of Travis (Lucas Till), a former childhood crush who now works for Grandma Ruby as a farmhand, she begins to realize what is really important to her. Cyrus is famous for her girl-next-door personality, easy smile, and mugging for the camera, which abounds in this film. The coming-of-age tale also delves into the trials and tribulations of growing up and dealing with your first love, which made all the more complicated by her secret superstar life. Till's Travis is sure to make every teenage girl want her own well-mannered cowboy. Vanessa Williams appears as Miley/Hannah's pushy publicist and Peter Gunn is a sneaky English journalist intent on getting some dirt on Hannah. Jason Earles and Emily Osment reprise their television roles as Miley's brother, Jackson, and her best friend, Lilly. Country music fans will enjoy performances from Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, and Billy Ray Cyrus himself. The film also includes 12 new songs from Miley/Hannah. (www.rottentomatoes.com)

OUTSTANDING FEATURES OF THE FILM: Realistic presentation of stardom complex that can destroy a person's life unless there is intervention, in this case, from the father of the teenage star.

ADDITIONAL REMARKS: Commendable material for discussion among teenagers who can be easily carried as “fans” of popular actors/singers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bente

Cast: Jinggoy Estrada, Richard Gomez, Iza Calzado, Ryan Eigenmann, Alfred Gatchialian, Glaiza de Castro, Snooky Serna, Emilio Garcia; Director: Mel Chionglo; Producer: APT Productions; Screenwriter: Ricky Lee; Location: Manila; Running Time: 100 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Si Arnie (Jinggoy Estrada) ay isang batikang komentarista sa radyo na laging pinupunterya ng batikos ang Mayor (Emilio Garcia) na dati niyang kababata. Dahil dito, ipinag-utos ng Mayor na bantayan ang bawat kilos ni Arnie at inatasan niya ang mga tauhan niyang sina Ramon (Richard Gomez) at Caloy (Ryan Eigenmann) na gawin ito. Ngunit si Ramon ay may matinding pinagdaraanan – duda siyang may ibang lalaki ang kanyang asawa (Iza Calzado) at nais niyang malaman kung tama ang kanyang kutob. Habang sinusundan nila si Arnie ay mamatyagan din niya ang kanyang asawa. Sa kabilang dako naman ay sinusundan ng ibang grupo ang isang student leader na aktibista (Alfred Gatchialian) na malapit nang malaman ang susi sa pagkawala ng ilang aktibista at saksi sa anomalya. Higit na magpapalala pa sa kanyang sitwasyon ay pagbubuntis ng kanyang nobya (Glaiza de Castro) ngayong nakakatanggap siya ng maraming banta sa kanyang buhay. Paano nga ba mabubuhay ng payapa at tahimik sa isang lipunang kayang matyagan ng ibang tao ang bawat mong kilos at galaw?

Isang mapangahas na pelikula ang Bente. Tumatalakay ito ng isang matinding isyung panlipunan: ang kawalang hustisya sa pagkawala at pagkamatay ng mga taong kumakalaban sa gobyerno at ipinaglalaban ang katarungan at karapatan ng mahihina sa lipunan. Sa kabila ng maraming tauhan, nagawa ng pelikulang paigtingin ang mensahe nito ukol sa lumalalang karahasan. Mahusay ang pagkakasulat at ang direksyon. Maging ang pag-arte ng mga tauhan ay tamang-tama rin. Sayang nga lang at maraming bagay ang hindi malinaw sa kuwento, gaya ng kanino ba talaga ang kabuuan ng istorya? At sa bandang huli’y hindi malaman kung ano na nga ba ang patutunguhan ng isang lipunang namamayani ang kawalang-katarungan? Wala ring malinaw na solusyon na inihain at pawang naubos ang oras ng pelikula sa napakahabang habulan na maari namang mapaikli at nagdagdag pa sana ng mas maliwanag na resolusyon. Resulta tuloy ay walang masyadong bigat ng damdamin na mararamdaman ang manonood na siya na sanang magpapasiklab at gigising sa natutulog sa diwa at kamalayan para sa bayan.

Bente pesos na nga lang ba ang halaga ng buhay ng tao ngayon? Ito ang mensaheng nais iparating ng pelikula. Gaano pa nga ba kahalaga ang buhay ng isang tao at saan at paano nga ba ito nasusukat? Wala sa haba ng buhay kundi sa kung paano ka nabuhay at kung paano mo ipinaglaban ang iyong mga prinsipyo. Hindi kailanman magiging tama ang karahasan at hindi rin ito ang solusyon sa anumang problema, maging sa pamilya man o panlipunan. Ito ang nais iparating ng kabuuan ng pelikula. Ang nabubuhay sa bala ay sa bala rin mamamatay. Nakakabahala nga lang na wala ng kapayapaan ang buhay ng mga tao ngayon at ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag ay lagi na lamang may kaakibat na panganib. Yun nga lang, pawang hindi napahalagahan sa pelikula ang buhay ispritwal kahit pa hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman ng karamihan kung gaano katindi ang suporta ng simbahan sa mga usapin ng lipunan tulad ng kawalang katarungan at karahasan. Nakababahala rin kung paanong naging katanggap-tanggap na ang pagbubuntis sa labas ng kasal. Sa aspetong ito, dapat gabayan ang mga batang manonood. Ang pakikiapid naman ay inilagay sa konteksto ng karahasan kung kaya’t maliwanag na hindi ito kinukunsinte. Sadyang wala lang mapuntahan ang karakter na nakiapid at hindi siya basta makatakas sa kanyang sitwasyon. Sa huli nama’y walang nananalo sa karahasan at kasamaan.

The Haunted; The Deaths of Ian Stone

Cast: Mike Vogel, Christina Cole, Michael Dixon, Jaime Murray, Jeff Peterson; Director: Dario Piana; Producers: Steve Christian, Brian Gilbert, Brendan Hood; Screenwriter: Brendan Hood; Music: Elia Cmiral; Editor: Celia Haining; Genre: Horror-Suspense; Cinematography: Stefano Morcaldo; Distributor: Cinestar; Location: Britain; Running Time: 87 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Ian Stone (Mike Vogel) is an American ice hockey player living in Britain hopelessly in love with his girlfriend Jenny (Christina Cole). Driving home one night, he is mercilessly attacked by a corpse only to wake up the next morning as an executive missing his deadline. He is involved with Medea (Jaime Murray) but Jenny, along with some familiar faces is seen in the office. Later on, he is warned by an old man who tells him he is being hunted by the Harvesters, vampire-like creatures who feed on fear, who come after him whenever the clock stops. However, Ian does not stay dead and usual wakes up with a new life in a new place, only for the Harvesters to chase and kill him again. Again attacked by a Harvester Ian runs home to Medea only to be stabbed in the stomach. He wakes up in another person’s life but this time Jenny and the Harvesters link him to the truth. He discovers the truth behind his identity and a force more powerful than fear and pain.

The Haunted, originally titled The Deaths of Ian Stone does not deliver the usual screams, and creeps of a horror film but director Piana knows how to intensify the tension of Hood’s intriguing script. The performances from Vogel and Murray are decent and the special effects are acceptable. However, the production design is a spin off from the Matrix and Blade while the lighting is too bleak for one to appreciate what is happening in the scenes. While the concept is creative and unique, the filmmakers fail to translate it cinematically.

There is no greater or stronger force in this world than genuine love. Love brings conversion and melts even the toughest heart so as to learn compassion and sympathy. Love conquers hatred and discrepancies. Love bridges distance and close gaps. A person in love will overlook physical and social differences of color, race, creed or social standing. Love brings out the best in people because real love is selfless and willing to sacrifice for the sake of what is good and true. Love triumphs over fear, pain and death. Someone who is truly in love will exude goodness and benevolence.

The movie poetically teaches us about love and how one who discovers this will overcome all other obstacles to truth and goodness.

However, because of the gruesome scenes of Ian Stone’s death, very young children may be traumatized or disturbed. It is advisable that mature viewers accompany their children when watching the movie.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ice Age 3; Dawn of the Dinosaur

Cast: Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg, Sean William Scott, Josh Peck, Queen Latifah; Director: Carlos Saldhana; Producer: Lori Forte John Donkin; Screenwriters: Michael Berg Peter Ackerman, Yoni Brenner; Music: John Powell; Genre: Animation/ Sci-Fi Adventure; Distributor: 20th Century Fox; Location: Pre-Historic Times; Running Time: 87 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

Ice Age 3 opens with the usually gentle-mannered Manny (Ray Romano) now a nervous wreck because Ellie (Queen Latifah) is due to give birth anytime. Eventually, Sid (John Leguizamo) turns from delighted to devastate as he realizes he will soon become an outcast to the mammoth family. Meanwhile Diego (Dennis Leary) thinks he has lost his prowess as a hunter when he fails to capture a gazelle he has been stalking and decides to leave his herd. But before he is able to do so, Sid falls into an ice crack and discovers three eggs he believes were abandoned. Despite warning from Manny, Sid decides to adopt the eggs and soon they hatch with 3 baby T-Rexes. Oblivious to what they are, Sid happily ignores his friends warnings and raises his 3 new babies until the angry mommy T-Rex shows up and takes her 3 missing infants and Sin into a hole in the ice. Now Manny and Diego, with a very pregnant Ellie and the usually mischievous possum brothers and the help of their new friend Buck, a one eyed underground living weasel, must rescue Sid in a land beneath the ice where an entire world of dinosaurs have survived.

This 3rd installment of the sub-zero animation comes with a strong storyline and clever script. The CGIs are amazing as audience is treated to a majestic visual depth of 3D animation. The action sequences are exciting both for the intended viewers and their adult companions. The cast obviously has already found their comfort zones and interacts with each other well. And as always, the quirky saber-toothed squirrel Scrat steals the scenes whenever he appears. The movie is well-paced and enjoyable.

In between Sid’s mushiness, Manny’s one-note laggardness are wholesome life-lessons about family and friendship being more important above all. Just like the first 2 films, Ice Age 3 emphasizes the importance of learning to go past ones differences and get along to live in harmony. Being one family and community necessitates going past our personal agendas and individual desires. Instead it calls for us to focus on protecting the interest of each other at all costs.

The plot is straightforward and simple enough for the children to follow although some jokes are better suited to an older audience, the film still delivers a lovely entertaining 97 minutes for the entire family.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Villa Estrella

Cast: Geoff Eigenmann, Jake Cuenca, Maja Salvador, Shaina Magdayao; Director: Rico Maria Ilarde; Producer: Marizel Samson-Martinez; Screenwriters: Joel Mercado, Rico Maria Ilarde, Adolfo Alix, Jr., John Paul Abellera; Music: Malek Lopez; Editor: Renewin Alano; Genre: Horror; Distributor: Star Cinema; Location: Manila, Batangas; Running Time: 90 min;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Napadpad ang magkakabata at dating magkasintahan na sina Anna (Shaina) at Alex (Jake) sa Villa Estrella, isang lumang resort na pag-aari ng pamilya nina Anna at pinag-iisipan na i-renovate upang muling pagkakitaan. Labag sa kalooban ni Anna ang pagsama kay Alex dahil may bago na siyang kasintahan, pero kagustuhan ng kanyang ama na sumama siya at ayaw niya itong suwayin. Kinailangan nilang manatili ng isang gabi para matapos ang mga dapat asikasuhin at makapag-usap sina Anna at Alex upang maibalik ang relasyon katulad ng nais ng kanilang mga magulang. Samantala si Anna ay matagal ng binabagabag ng masamang panaginip tungkol sa babaeng nalulunod sa swimming pool at tumindi ang epekto nito sa kanya sa pananatili niya sa lumang resort. Maliban kay Alex ay nakapagpayapa naman kay Anna ang ibang tao na nadatnan niya sa Villa kasama na si Giselle or Andrea (Maja) na isa palang multo at siya lang ang nakakita. Ang sandaling pananatili ni Anna sa Villa ay napuno ng takot dahil sa mga kakaibang kaganapan na nakakabagabag kaya nagpasundo siya sa kanyang nobyo na si Dennis (Geoff). Ano ang kaugnayan ng multong si Andrea sa mga nangyayari at ano ang pakay niya kay Anna?

Hilaw ang kuwento at puno ng katanungan kung paano nagkaroon ng mga kaganapan na ipinakita sa pelikula. Sinabayan pa ng hilaw na pag-arte ng mga pangunahing tauhan. Subalit bumawi ang mahinang kuwento at pag-arte ng mahusay na paglalapat na tunog, musika, pangkalahatang disensyo ng produksyon at ilang special effects lalo na ang make-up ng batang nagmumulto. Malaki ang naitulong ng mga nasabing teknikal na aspeto ng pelikula upang magkaroon ito ng saysay. Walang tipikal na sigawan ng takot subalit tagumpay ang direktor sa paghahatid ng mga eksenang nakakagulat tulad ng paglitaw ng mga imahe ng multo bagamat madaling malaman ng manonood kung kelan ito mangyayari. Sa kabuuan ay nakitaan ng pagsisikap ang gumawa ng pelikula na tutukan ang aspetong teknikal. Ganon pa man ay nakakahinayang na hindi masyadong tinutukan ang pag-aayos ng daloy ng kwento na sa kalaunan ay siyang higit na tumitimo at nagmamarka sa isipan ng manonood.

Higit sa lahat, ang buhay ng tao ay mahalaga at dapat proteksyunan. Hindi naging sensitibo ang pelikulang "Villa Estrella" sa pagpapahalagang ito. Sa halip ay ipinakita nito na isang mapaniil na ama ang pinagtiisang pakisamahan at sundin ng anak dahil sa habilin ng namayapang ina. Isang anak na nagpakabulag sa katotohanan ay umayon na ibaon sa limot at itikom ang bibig tungkol sa nasaksihan krimen na ginawa ng ama. Nagwakas ang pelikula na matagumpay sa paghihiganti ang mga ligalig na kaluluwa at pare-parehong nagbuwis ng buhay ang mga inosente at responsableng tao sa krimen. Maliban sa saglit na eksena ng paghingi ng tawad ng ama bago malagutan ng hininga na halos di napansin ay wala ng kaliwanagan o inspirasyon man lamang na inihatid ang pelikula. Sa kabuuan ay nakababahala ang naging wakas ng pelikula dahil di naging payapa ang kaluluwa sa kabila ng mga buhay na nawala.

Pitik Bulag

Cast: Marco Alcaraz, Paloma, Victor Neri; Director: Gil Portes; Screenwriter: Eric Ramos; Genre: Drama; Distributor: ALV Entertainment; Location: Manila; Running Time: 100 minutes;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

Si Angelo (Marco Alcaraz) ay isang stuntman sa mga pelikula ng kanyang idol na si FPJ. Simula ng mamatay ang huli, humina na ang kita ni Angelo dahil wala nang gumagawa ng pelikulang action. Hindi rin masyadong sinusuwerte si Angleo sa mga audition para sa pelikula kung kaya’t wala siyang maipangtustos sa kanyang asawang si Kara (Paloma) at isang anak na iniwan sa probinsiya. Minsang mangungutang siya sa isang Uncle na dating kasamahan ng kanyang tatay sa trabaho ay makakapulot si Angelo ng isang bag na puno ng pera na umaabot ng sampung milyon. Naisip niyang ito na ang kanyang swerte kung kaya’t dali-dali niyang inilipat ang pera sa kanyang bag. Malalaman niyang ang pera pala ay nahulog galing sa sasakyan ng mga nagnakaw sa isang bangko. Ang malaking pang problema ay naiwan niya ang kanyang wallet kung saan niya napulot ang pera. Nasa panganib ang buhay niya pero ipagsasaalang-alang kaya niya ito para sa inaakala niyang suwerte na babago sa buhay at kinabukasan ng kanyang pamilya?

Maganda sana ang kuwentong nais iparating ng Pitik Bulag. Maraming bagong elemento sa paglalahad ng istorya ang makikita sa pelikula. Kaiga-igaya ang paggamit ng pelikulang Pilipino bilang kalugaran ng kuwento. Maihahantulad nga naman ng buhay natin sa isang artista na pilit hinahanap ang kinang ng bituin. Ngunit malaking palpak ang napakarami ring butas sa kabuuan ng pelikula. Ang mga ginawang insidente ay pawang nakaugat sa katangahan. Maging ang maraming imposibleng eksena ay pawang kamangmangan pa rin ang inspirasyon. Wala rin gaanong mararamdaman sa pag-arte ng mga tauhan. May ibubuga pa sana sila kung nabigyan pa ng mas malaman na kuwento at diyalogo. May ilang parte naman sa pelikula at ilang linya na nakakaaliw pero sa kabuuan ay nakakabagot ang malabis na kapalpakan. Maging ang ilang eksena ng paghuhubad ay pawang mga hindi kailangan sa kuwento at nakasira lamang sa kabuuan nito.

Ano nga ba ang gagawin mo sakaling makapulot ka ng malaking pera na maaring bumago sa buhay mo at ng pamilya mo? Ito ang nagsusumigaw na tanong sa Pitik Bulag. Kailan nga ba nagiging tunay na marumi ang pera? Kapag ito’y ninakaw lamang? Paano kung ito ay kusang dumating sa iyo ng hindi mo inaasahan? Sa kabilang banda, pinag-isip ng pelikula ang mga manonood kung ano nga ba ang nararapat gawin sakaling maharap sa ganitong uri ng sitwasyon. Dalisay ang puso ni Kara na ninais ipamahagi ang pera sa iba lalo na sa mga pamilya ng biktima ng pamamaslang ng mga magnanakaw ng pera. Si Kara rin ang nagsilbing kunsensiya ni Angelo sa kung ano ang tama at hindi tamang gawin sa perang napulot nito. Nalagay rin sa alanganin ang buhay nila Angelo dahil sa pag-angkin nila sa pera. Tunay na hindi dapat angkinin ang anumang hndi sa atin lalo ang perang hindi pinaghirapan at galing sa masama. Pero nakababahala pa ring palabasing isang bayani ang isang taong madaling masilaw ng salapi. Si Angelo ay kitang likas rin ang katamaran na umaasa lamang sa suwerte. Ang ituring na kabayanihan ang kanyang ginawa ay tunay na nakababahala. Higit sa lahat, nakababahala ang maraming eksena ng hubaran sa pelikula. Nariyan pa ang lesbianismo at homosekwalidad na pawang walang kinalaman sa kuwento at halatang inilagay lamang para maging kontrobersiyal ang pelikula. May ilang karahasan din sa pelikula na nararapat lamang sa mga manonood 18 gulang pataas.