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!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Horsemen

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins, Patrick Fugit; Director: ; Producers: Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form; Screenwriter: Dave Callaham; Music: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek; Editor: Jim May, Todd E. Miller; Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller; Cinematography: Eric Broms; Distributor: Lions Gate Films; Location: USA; Running Time: 110 min.;

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

Aiden Breslin (Dennis Quaid) is a workaholic detective who specializes in forensic dentistry. He buries himself in his work in order to fill in the void left by the death of his wife after she lost her battle with cancer. In the process, Breslin has become an uncaring and detached father to his two sons and is more concerned with the mystery behind a series of killings rooted in the Biblical Prophesy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As he is lead from one murder to another and draws closer to solving the puzzle, he realizes the shocking connection between himself, the four cases and the family he has abandoned.

HORSEMEN begins with a story about four psychologically imbalanced people impersonating the symbols of death and destruction in Revelations and ends to become a frustrating mellow drama about the victims of social indifference and parental desertion. The director’s attempt to force feed the message to his audience turns to be a muddled series of carnage scenes and lecture about not neglecting our loved ones. The camerawork is not tight enough to deliver effective tension filled moments. The post production works are decent but not outstanding. And for a mystery-thriller, it fails to achieve that “edge of your seat” experience for the audience.

Is work priority over family? The obvious and expected answer is “no”, however, there are instances when this is easier said than done. In these times, when most families have both parents working to support the needs of their children, it is almost easy to rationalize that the time spend away from the home is actually time sacrifice to build the home. But is it really worth it? The movie reminds us that parents need to care for their children physically and emotionally. Nothing can ever replace the time one spends with them to share memories, lessons and experiences. However, this message is drown in the series of senseless killings, gruesome violence, offensive scenes and language.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yaya & Angelina; The Spoiled Brat Movie

Cast: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Iza Calzado, Aiko Melendez, Jomari Yllana, Leo Martinez, Roxanne Guinoo, Sheena Halili, Victor Aliwalas; Director: Mike Tuviera; Producers: Jose Mari Abacan, Ogie Alcasid, Mike Tuviera, Michael V.; Screenwriters: Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., Uro Q. dela Cruz; Genre: Comedy; Distributor: GMA Films; Location: Manila; Running Time: 100 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Bagama't may angking talino ay labis naman ang kapilyahan ni Angelina (Ogie Alcacid) kung kaya't walang tumatagal ditong yaya. Matapos ang pagkuha ng ilang mga yaya para kay Angelina, tanging si Yaya Rosalinda (Michael V.) lamang ang makakatagal sa kakulitan ng alaga. Sa umpisa'y maayos ang pakikisama ni Angelina kay Yaya Rosalinda, ngunit hindi magtatagal ay magiging sunod-sunod na rin ang kapilyahang gagawin nito sa yaya hanggang sa dumating ang araw na mapilitan rin ang mga magulang ni Angelina na palayasin si Yaya Rosalinda. Ngunit isang araw ay kakailanganin ni Angelina ang tulong ng yaya nang ito ay makidnap ng mga teroristang gustong patayin ang bibisitang Dukesa ng Wellington. Makaligtas kaya sila at magkaayos pa kaya silang dalawa?

Kahanga-hanga ang talino ng dalawang pangunahing tauhan na sina Michael V. at Ogie Alcacid na mga mismong nakaisip ng karakter ni Yaya at Angelina. Mula sa mumunting mga kuwentong mag-yaya na sumikat sa telebisyon ay nagawang pelikula na ang kanilang mga likhang tauhan. Nakakaaliw silang makita sa sinehan lalo pa't kilala na ang kanilang tambalan. Maayos at manlinaw ang kuha ng kamera at mahusay maging ang pagkakaganap ng mga pangalawang tauhan. May mga mangilan-ngilan ding nakakatawang eksena. Ngunit pawang nasayang ang pelikula dahil hindi nito napalawig ang kuwento at relasyon ng mag-yaya. Tulad sa palabas sa telebisyon, nanatili itong mababaw na walang hinangad kundi ang magpatawa. Hindi naghangad man lang ang pelikula na maglahad ng mas malalim at mas makabuluhang kuwento maliban sa pagpapatawa. Marami pa sanang pwedeng gawin sa kuwento ngunit nakuntento na lamang silang manatili sa manipis na hibla ng kwentong mag-yaya.

Bagama't lumaking spoiled brat at may kapilyahan, kitang dalisay naman ang puso ni Angelina. May taglay man siyang kakulitan, hindi naman niya sinasadya ang mga nagagawang pananakit. May ilang eksena nga lang na nakakababahala tulad ng mga pagsabog at pananadyang pananakot at pagpapahiya sa kanyang mga yaya. Hindi ito dapat tularan ng mga bata at dapat silang magabayan sa panonood. Higit na kahanga-hanga si Yaya Rosalinda na nanatili ang malasakit sa- alaga sa kabila ng kakulitan at kapilyahan nito. Hindi sumusuko si Yaya Rosalinda sa alaga kahit pa hindi niya ito kadugo. Bagay na mahirap hanapin sa mga kasambahay at yaya sa kasalukuyang panahon. Ang nabuong relasyon sa mag-yaya ay dapat magsilbing halimbawa na wala sa dugo ang pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit, bagkus ito ay kusang tumutubo basta't mayroon pagmamahal at mahabang pang-unawa ang mga higit na nakakatanda. Hindi rin magtatagumpay kailanman ang kasamaan sa kabutihan. Kahit pa walang armas, ay nagawa nila Yaya at Angelina na labanan ang mga armadong terorista sa masama nitong binabalak.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Whiteout

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt; Director: Dominic Sena; Producers: Susan ; Screenwriters: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes; Music: John Frizzell; Genre: Horror/ Suspense; Distributor: Warner Bros.; Location: Antartica; Running Time: 100 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

US Marshall Carrie Stetco Kate Beckinsale) arrives in Antarctica for her assignment to investigate a dead body of a geologist that is found on the ice. Giving her moral support to fulfill the mission is Dr John Fury (Tom Skerritt), her friend in the area. Soon after she arrives at the conclusion on the crime of murder that causes the dead body, she realizes that the murderer is on the loose and also after her life because of her responsibility to the case. Being used to the situation as a law enforcer, Carrie is determined to pursue the investigation and to pin down the killer especially with the discovery of series of killing in Antarctica. In the course of her ordeal, she meets UN Consultant, Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) who is equally interested in the case of the murdered geologist. Eventually, both of them become the target of the mysterious killer.

Whiteout is a treat of scenic view of snowy Antarctica. The cinematography is so good with appropriate lighting and compliments of sounds and musical score. However, if the abovementioned aspects of the film are commendable, the overall story is a dismal. The plot is poorly developed with hardly notice of denouement. There is high frequency of unnecessary or prolonged scenes like exposure of dead bodies, intense violent killings, chasing scenes in snow storms, and even the amputation of fingers. The film was concluded with the discovery of a surprise killer and likely with the viewer's question 'how could that be?

The film shows that a responsible officer tasked to do a mission must have the focus and the commitment to fulfill her duty in all circumstances. For a film to feature a woman in her strength at par with man is a positive notion. However, density of senseless killings and casual exposures of dead bodies that is rampant during the entire run of the film have overtaken the reference to a strong woman. Instead, it shows how a doctor who is supposed to save lives can manipulate a crime, disregard trust in friendship, and make up stories in exchange of wealth. Dead human bodies are not respected rather used for crime (i.e keeper of diamonds or precious stones) if not totally ignored.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sorority Row


Cast: Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman, Audrina Patridge, Caroline D’Amore, Carrie Fisher; Director: Stewart Hendler; Producers: Darrin Holender, Mike Karz; Screenwriters: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger; Music: Lucian Piane; Editor: Elliot Greenberg; Genre: Horror/ Thriller; Cinematography: Ken Seng; Distributor: Summit Enter; Location: USA; Running Time: 100 min.;

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

Theta Pi is a sorority house run by Mrs. Crenshaw (Carrie Fisher) where the girls led by Jessica (Leah Pipes) often hold wild parties. When Megan (Audrina Patridge) discovers her boyfriend Garret (Matt O”leary) cheating on her, she decides break off and exact revenge with the help of her sisters. So during their sorority’s Pledge Week, Megan connives with her sisters to pull a prank on Garret. They convince him to drug Megan so he can freely bed her and later on Megan would pretend die from overdose. Unfortunately, Garret believes he has really killed Megan and proceeds to impale her with a tire iron. The shocked and panicked sisters are convinced by Jessica to pretend Megan went missing at the party and lead the girls to dump the body and swear them to secrecy. Eight months later during their graduation party, the sisters receive text messages from Megan’s cell phone. Soon after, a hooded tire-iron-wielding slasher in graduation gown brutally kills all those involved in the cover up one after the other.

As in any slasher film, Sorority Row, a bad remake of House on Sorority Row, features semi-clad big-chested girls engaged in wild parties and bad company running stupidly from an amazingly clever killer who can single handedly slaughter dozens of people one after the other. There are bright moments when the film tries to break of from its formula, particularly the witty one-liners and sense of humor, making the viewers sympathize with the characters and actually care for their safety. Other than this, the movie is nothing more than a bloody body count and how many creative scenes the director can use for each murder. The plot development and the revelation of the killer is disappointingly brainless, the performances are shallow and the creative direction is mediocre.

Ironically, SORORITY ROW’s Theta Pi emphasizes trust, respect, honor, secrecy and solidarity as its core values. Values which in reality are merely lip service to protect themselves. The characters do not even care to look after a friend - so much so for sisterhood. At the end, secrecy is the only value that counts to cover up for a crime. The characters are ill-mannered, promiscuous and rude.

The movie contains gratuitous nudity, gore and violence, rough and vulgar language and absolutely no redeeming quality to be worth anyone’s time and money.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In My Life

Cast: Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano, John Lloyd Cruz, Dimples Romana, Paw Diaz; Director: Olivia M. Lamasan; Producer: Charo Santos; Screenwriters: Olive Lamasan, Raymond Lee, Senedy Que; Genre: Drama; Distributor: Star Cine Production; Location: Manila/ New York; Running Time: 120 min.;

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

Si Shirley (Vilma Santos) ay isang tumatandang public school librarian na matagal nang hiwalay sa asawa at mag-isang itinaguyod ang tatlong anak. Nang pinipilit siya ng kanyang anak na si Dang (Dimples Romana) na ibenta ang compound dahil balak nitong mag-migrate sa ibang bansa kasama ang buong pamilya, labis siyang nagdamdam. Kaya't nagdesisyon si Shirley na puntahan ang anak niyang si Mark (Luis Manzano) na nasa New York para magbakasyon. Sa pag-aakalang wala nang babalikan sa Pilipinas, susubukan ni Shirley na magsimula ng panibagong buhay doon. Dahil dito'y mapipilitan si Shirley na makipisan sa anak na may kinakasamang boyfriend na si Noel (John Lloyd Cruz). Bagama't pawang tanggap ni Shirley ang pagiging bakla ng anak, hindi niya gaanong matanggap si Noel. Subalit dahil parating abala sa trabaho si Mark, si Noel ang parating maiiwang tumingin at mag-asikaso kay Shirley. Magkaayos kaya silang dalawa at mahanap kaya ni Shirley ang panibagong buhay sa New York sa gitna ng lumalala niyang relasyon sa mga anak?

Matino ang produksiyon ng In My Life at naging mas makinang dahil karamihan sa mga eksena ay kinunan pa sa New York. Halatang pinagbuhusan ng talino't galing ang kabuuan ng pelikula. Hindi matatawaran ang husay ni Vilma Santos sa pagganap at hindi rin nagpahuli dito si John Lloyd Cruz. Si Luis Manzano na bagama't hindi pa kasinghusay ay nagawa naman nang maayos ang kanyang karakter. Nakababahala lang na pawang hindi gaanong nagamit ang kalugaran ng kuwento na halos naging palamuti lang. Ang mga kuwentong nakakabit sa New York ay hindi naman talaga nagpaiting sa tunay na kuwento ng pelikula. Sa madaling salita, kahit ilipat ang kuwento sa ibang kalugaran ay hindi pa rin magbabago ang takbo nito. Ang naging resulta tuloy ay napakaraming maliliit na kuwentong nakasanga sa pinakapuso ng pelikula na sa halip na makatulong sa pagpapayabong ng istorya ay nagpapaligaw sa nais nitong patunguhan. Naging pilit tuloy ang ilang eksena kung ikukumpara sa kabuuan. Salamat na lamang sa napakahusay na pagganap ng mga tauhan, sa malinis na sinematograpiya, sa magandang komposisyon ng mga eksena kaya't maituturing pa ring kaaya-aya ang In My Life.

Kahanga-hanga ang tauhan na si Shirley. Bagama't marami siyang pagkukulang at talaga namang hindi perpekto, nagawa naman niyang isakripisyo ang sariling kaligayahan alang-alang sa kinabukasan ng mga anak. Naging mahigpit at malupit man siya paminsan-minsan, ang mga ito'y hindi naman niya sinasadya. At sa bandang huli'y natuto siyang umamin sa mga pagkakamali at namayani pa rin ang pagmamahal at pagpapatawad. Marami nga lang nakakabahalang moral sa pelikula tulad ng relasyong homosekswal na nagsasama ang dalawang lalaki na pawang mag-asawa. Ipinakitang ito'y katanggap-tanggap at wala ni ano mang sinabi sa kuwento na ang ganitong relasyon ay hindi tama. Halatang nag-ingat din ang pelikula na huwag gawing sobrang lantaran ang mga eksena ng lambingan sa pagitan ng dalawang lalaki na naging maganda naman ang kinalabasan. Talamak din sa Amerika ang pagkapit sa patalim ng ating mga kababayan na nagpapakasal para lamang maging US citizen at makapagtrabaho doon ng legal. Hindi naman sinasabi ng pelikula na ito ay tama, ngunit sadyang ito ang natatanging paraan upang maging maayos ang kalagayan ng ilang Pilipinong naninirahan doon ng walang papel o illegal. Sa kuwento ng pelikula, nagamit ang aspetong ito upang makatulong kay Noel at upang gumaan din ang pakiramdam ni Shirley. Lalo tuloy naging nakababahala na naging katanggap-tanggap na talaga ang “marriage for convenience” sa ating mga kababayan. Higit pa rito'y kung paanong nagkakawatak-watak ang isang pamilya sa pagnanais ng mas malaking kita sa pangingibang-bayan. Dahil sa mga aspetong ito ay nararapat lamang ang pelikula sa mga manonood na may edad 14 pataas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Manghuhula

Cast: Eula Valdez, Glaiza de Castro, Emilio Garcia, Chanda Romero, Pinky Amador, Bella Flores, Adreinne Babiera; Director: Paolo Herras; Producers: Marc Licaros, Joseph David Santos; Screenwriters: Paolo Herras, Marlon Rivera; Music: Isha; Editor: Dempster Samarista; Genre: Drama; Cinematography: Rodolfo Aves, Jr., Marissa Floirendo Distributor: Alessandro Productions; Location: Manila; Running Time: 105 min.;

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

Si Messina (Eula Valdez) ay nagmula sa pamilya ng manghuhula. Kilalang manghuhula ang kanyang ina (Chanda Romero) sa kanilang lugar na kung saan panghuhula ang pangunahing ikinabubuhay ng mga tao. Tinakasan ni Messina ang kanilang lugar dahil binansagan siyang salot nang minsang mahulaan niya ang isang kamatayan at ito ay nagkatotoo. Iniwan niya ang kanyang anak na si Claire (Glaiza de Castro) dahil hindi niya ito maisama. Magbabalik si Messina sa kanilang lugar nang malaman niya na namatay ang kanyang ina sa hindi pa alam na kadahilanan. Kasabay ng pag-aalam ni Messina ng dahilan ng kamatayan ng kanyang ina ay pilit naman niyang itatakas si Claire sa mundo ng panghuhula na kanilang kinagisnan. Ngunit hindi sila papayagan ng sindikato ni Jacob (Emilio Garcia) na siyang nagpapatakbo sa negosyo ng panghuhula. Marami raw iniwang utang ang ina ni Messina at dapat itong pagbayaran ni Claire sa pamamagitan rin ng panghuhula. Magawa pa kayang itakas ni Messina si Claire gayong nahumaling na rin ito sa mundo ng panghuhula?

Isang naiibang kuwento ang pelikula na tumatalakay sa isang mundong bihira o hindi pa masyadong alam ng nakararami. Hindi pangkaraniwan ang paksang nais talakayin ng Ang Manghuhula kung kaya't sa kabuuan ng pelikula'y mas maraming tanong kaysa sagot ang mananatili sa isip ng manonood. Palaisipan kung paanong naging isang sindikato ang dapat sana'y di pangkaraniwang kakayahan ng panghuhula na hindi pa rin batid kung biyaya o sumpa. Hindi gaanong malinaw ang takbo ng kuwento at hindi rin malinaw kung saan ito patutungo. Hanggang sa huli'y hindi masabi kung narating ba ng pelikula ang nais nitong marating. Mahusay naman ang mga nagsiganap sa pangunguna ni Valdez ngunit pawang maraming butas at kulang sa pelikula na hindi napunan ng husay ng mga tauhan. Bagama't maliwanag ang nais makuha ng pangunahing tauhan, hindi naman malinaw kung ano ba talaga ang problema at ang ugat na pinanggagalingan nito. Sayang at pawang maraming nais sabihin ang pelikula ngunit nanatili ang lahat sa isipan ng may likha nito at hindi nagamit ang biswal na midyum ng pelikula.

Maituturing nga bang biyaya o sumpa ang kakayahang malaman ang hinaharap? Maliwanag ang turo ng simbahan ukol dito na bagama't sa simula pa lamang ng kasaysayan ay may mga propeta nang nagpapahayag ng hinaharap, hindi pa rin nararapat isa-alang-alang ng tao ang kanyang buhay sa manghuhula. Ang gawin itong isang negosyo ay mas higit na masama lalo pa't nauuwi ito sa panloloko. Ito naman ay naipakita ng pelikula at hindi nito kinukunsinte ang mga maling gawa. Nakakabahala nga lang kung paanong ituring ng anak na si Claire ang kanyang ina na halos pawang wala na siyang paggalang dito. Nakakalito rin kung paano at bakit pilit na inaako ni Claire ang papel ng isang manghuhula gayong alam naman niya ang kapahamakang idudulot nito sa kanya. Ang pinakanakakabahala sa lahat ay kung paanong binigyang kapangyarihan ng pelikula ang mga barahang gamit sa panghuhula na halos maging instrumento ito ng kaguluhan at patayan sa kanilang lugar. Nakakabahala rin ang madalas na pagpapakita ng mga imahe at santo na simbolo ng pananampalatayang katoliko na pawang nais ipahiwatig ang pagiging paganong Katoliko ng mga Plilipino. Dahil sa mabigat nitong tema, nararapat lamang ang pelikula sa mga manonood na may edad 14 pataas.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Love You Beth Cooper

Cast: Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Jack T. Carpenter, Lauren London, Alan Ruck, Cynthia Stevenson; Director: Chris Columbus; Producers: Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Michael Barnathan; Screenwriter: Larry Doyle; Music: Christophe Beck; Editor: Peter Honess; Genre: Romantic Comedy; Cinematography: Phil Abraham; Distributor: 20th Century Fox; Location: USA; Running Time: 102 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) is graduating from high school and he delivers his valedictory speech. Unfortunately, he uses this oration to profess his secret love for head cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere). His confession as well as other things he says does not sit well with Beth’s cocaine-sniffing ROTC boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts). Meanwhile, charmed and flattered Beth decides to attend Denis’ party, together with friends Cammy and Treece, and gives him the night of his life. Denis and Rich, the only other guest of the party, try hard to entertain the girls but end up running away from a vindictive Kevin. On the run, Denis discovers that Beth isn’t the girl he thought she was.

On the one hand, I Love You Beth Cooper includes a strong and charming cast who embodies high school’s hormones quite well. There is some believable chemistry between he leads and support that you can almost sympathize with their sentiments and motives. Almost... because it gets there but never moves any further. On the other hand, the movie is flat and tedious. The script is senseless and fails to get the right tone and struggles between being gross comedy and sugary sweet teen romance. The scenes are tedious and boring and develops poorly.

I Love You Beth Cooper starts off as another teen-inspired romance but dangerously moves to show freewheeling sexual attitudes and choices that even adults will be repulsed. The line of morality seems to have shifted too far as characters ignore values and engage in offensive behaviours, willingly, Even parents of the characters cannot be role models. The heroes of the movie get drunk, trivialize drug addiction, engage in pre-marital sex, “threesomes”, nudity (though shot off screen), homosexuality, violence and bad behaviours. The theme of teen romance is overshadowed by toilet humor and sex jokes. Language is vulgar and crass. The movie is not worth one’s hard earned money and time.

Management

ASSESSMENT ONLY
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Steve Zahn, Woody Harrelson, Fred Ward,Margo Martindale; Director: Stephen Belber; Producers: Sidney Kimmel, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen; Screenwriter: Stephen Belber; Music: Michael Dana, Rob Simonsen; Editor: Kate Sanford; Genre: Romantic Comedy; Cinematography: Eric Allan Edwards; Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Company, The; Location: USA; Running Time: 94 min.;

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


BRIEF FILM SYNOPSIS

The often silly, always likable actor plays Mike Cranshaw (Steve Zahn), a man with little ambition but lots of heart who works at his parents' motel in small-town Arizona. When paint-saleswoman Sue Claussen (Jennifer Aniston) stops at the inn, Mike immediately plots an awkward plan to seduce her. Things go better than either of them would have guessed, but Sue still leaves for her home in Maryland. Mike impulsively follows her east, beginning an uncomfortable but heartfelt courtship that takes the road less traveled. Sue's move from Maryland to Washington does little to deter Mike, but the reappearance of her ex-boyfriend, ex-punk Jango (Woody Harrelson), could throw him off course. Mike commits acts bordering on criminal in his cross-country pursuit of Sue, but thanks to Zahn's 'performance, it's hard not to feel devoted to his character and to understand Sue’s (reluctant) attraction.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Final Destination 4

Cast: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Mykelti Williamson, Krista Allen; Director: David R. Ellis; Producers: Craig Perry, Warren Zide; Screenwriters: Eric Bress, Jeffrey Reddick; Music: Brian Tyler; Editor: Mark Stevens; Genre: Suspense/ Thriller; Cinematography: Glen MacPherson; Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures; Location: USA; Running Time: 90 min.;

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 1.5
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

Friends Nick (Bobby), Lori (Shantel), Hunt (Nick), and Janet (Haley) are part of the audience having fun watching the car race when Nick suddenly has a detailed premonition of car crashes causing impact to collapse the stadium and killed many people including them. Not soon after he convinces his friends to leave the place, the fatal accident happens as Nick sees it. This incident is followed by more premonitions of gruesome deaths that eventually happens and kills people one after another including those known to him. Having the opportunity to foresee these unlikely events, Nick tries his best effort with the help of his friends and feels the responsibility to prevent and save the lives of the people concern and even himself.

Final Destination 4 has a straight forward plot that has arranged sequence of deaths by familiarity to the one having the premonitions. The viewers keep up to the end of the film to get an answer to questions on their minds whether the lead character will also die and how. The special effects, sounds, make-up and production design are main ingredients that are successfully put together to provide the details of the gruesome death circumstances. However, the film has the tendency to exaggerate and overdo with many blasting scenes. Lead and supporting actors gave their good portrayals and gave justice to their roles.

Death is definite but as to when and how is not known until it happens. The film, however says whilst it is indeed the final destination, circumstances of death can be known through a premonition and a person concern can try to prevent. Unfortunately, the premonition in this film only foresees gruesome and violent ones which give liberty to the wild idea of a filmmaker to project senseless killings of people in dehumanizing manner and devaluing life. Whilst there was effort to protect life, but this was outdone by details of brutal killings shown in the entire run of the film. Overall, the movie promotes a culture of death rather than nurturing life as a primary value that will be a key to a so-called peaceful and happy death especially to Christian believers.

Year One

Cast: Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Cross, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Olivia Wilde; Director: Harold Ramis; Producers: Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend; Screenwriters: Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky; Music: Theodore Shapiro; Editor: Craig Herring, Steve Welch; Genre: Comedy; Cinematography: Alar Kivilo; Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment; Location: USA; Running Time: 100 min.;

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 1
CINEMA Rating: For mature viewers 18 and above

Caveman Zed (Jack Black) is his tribe’s greatest liability. He is banished from his community when he decides to prove his love for Maya and eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. As he leaves his tribe, he is joined by the effeminate fruit gatherer Oh (Michael Cera) who secretly hates his role and wishes to start a new life with Eema (Juno Temple).They trek to the mountains and intertwine their presence with Biblical stories of Genesis amidst a more advance and progressive society. Zed and Oh meet the squabbling Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd) and witness the murder of the latter. They discover the girls they wanted to sleep with have been sold to slavery and devised a plan to save them. However, they end up being sold by Cain into slavery and are force to march across the desert with the Roman soldiers with funny accents. They escape the Roman soldiers and end up a few seconds before Abraham (Hank Azaria) sacrifices Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). After they successfully stop Abraham from killing his own son, they are taken with him and introduced to the Hebrew culture of circumcision. Naturally, several scenes are devoted to build on jokes and poke fun at the tradition. Zed, now believing that God has chosen him for a special task, travel to the City of Sodom where they meet Cain once more and a Sodomite priest has taken a liking to Oh. Is Zed really the chosen one and will they be able to save Maya and Eema from slavery?

Year One is an attempt to spoof the stories of Genesis without the historical accuracy or the literary aptitude. Why a cave-dwelling society will coexist with the Roman Empire is completely ridiculous. The writers seem to just have leafed through Genesis with a lot of crude jokes and language in mind for a movie. Black is as annoying as he is in every other one of his movies and fails to immerse himself into the supposed character. Cera is as bland as he is in every other one of his movies and fails to be more than a guy in costume. Because this is a comedy, we can overlook the inaccuracies of the plot. But the confusion and weakness of its development is unforgivable. On the other hand, the technical aspect is satisfactory and the production almost impressive. However, these cannot make up for the shortcomings of the narrative.

It is very uncomfortable to watch a spoof of the Bible; worse that the spoof is laden with crude language, sexual references and toilet humor. Not that Christians are prude cannot take a joke but there are certain things that deserve reverence even if one wishes to poke fun at it. Year One could have chosen a different treatment and achieved a better product instead of taking the shortcut with its low-brow comedy. The ending of the movie tries to argue about one’s destiny and role in God’s master plan. It emphasizes that each one, at the end of the day, is the captains of their own lives because God has given them freewill to decide and choose. However, devoting a few last scenes to suddenly moralize several insensitive and repulsive scenes will not be enough for a movie to deserve an audience. At least an audience with enough decency to choose what is good for their children and even their own entertainment.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kimmy Dora

Cast: Eugene Domingo, Dindong Dantes, Zanjoe Marudo, Baron Geisler, Meriam Quiambao, Ariel Ureta; Director: Joyce Bernal; Producers: Piolo Pascual; Screenwriter: Chris Martinez; Music: Brian Cua; Editor: Vanessa de Leon; Genre: Comedy; Cinematography: Shayne Clamente; Distributor: Spring Films; Location: Manila; Running Time: 105 min.;

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

Kahit na kambal sina Kimmy at Dora (Eugene Domingo) ay labis na magkaiba ang kanilang personalidad at ugali. Matalino ngunit mapagmataaas at magaspang ang ugali ni Kimmy. Siya ang naatasang mamamahala sa malaking negosyo ng kanilang pamilya Go Dong Hae. Bagama't mahina ang utak at isip-bata, mapagmahal at mapagkumbaba naman si Dora na laging inaapi ni Kimmy ngunit minamahal naman ng labis ng kanilang ama (Ariel Ureta). Nariyan ding ang lalaking gusto ni Kimmy (Dingdong Dantes) ay mas gusto si Dora. Kaya't nang malaman ni Kimmy na mas malaki ang iiwanang pamana kay Dora, labis na lang ang pagdaramdam at sama ng loob nito. Aakalain naman ng kanyang tauhan (Baron Geisler) na nais niyang ipapatay at ipakidnap si Dora. Ngunit dahil sa isang kalituhan, si Kimmy ang makikidnap at mapipilitan si Dora na magpanggap bilang Kimmy upang hindi maapektuhan ang kanilang ama at mapangalagan din ang kapakanan ng kanilang negosyo. Saan kaya hahantong ang palitang ito nina Kimmy at Dora?

Isang tunay na nakakaaliw na pelikula ang Kimmy Dora. Naiiba ang kuwento at talaga namang angat ang uri ng komedya nito. Tama ang timpla ng bawat elemento. Mahusay ang pagkakahabi ng kuwento na hindi lamang basta nakakaaliw kundi may lalim rin. Maganda ang kuha ng kamera at mahusay ang editing. Napakahusay ng pelikula sa kabuuan kaya't nararapat lamang bigyang papuri ang lahat ng nasa likod ng pelikulang ito lalo na ang direktor. Ngunit kung may natatanging yaman ang pelikula, yan ay ang pangunahing tauhan nito na si Eugene Domingo. Tanging siya lamang sa hanay ng mga komedyante ngayon ang makakapag-bigay katarungan sa tauhan nina Kimmy at Dora na bukod sa dual role na ay kinailangan pang magpanggap at magpalit bilang isa't-isa. Hindi magiging matagumpay ang kabuuan ng pelikula kundi dahil sa husay at talino ni Domingo.

Paano nga bang nagiging magkaiba ang pagkatao ng kambal? Sa kabila ng magkalapit at halos parehong itsura, parehas na mga magulang at parehas na pagpapalaki ay nagiging magkaiba pa rin ang dalawa sa bandang huli. Kung anong buti ng ugali ni Dora ay siya namang sama ni Kimmy. Naipakita naman ng pelikula na ang pag-uugaling ito ay may malalim na pinanggagalingan at wala naman talagang taong likas na masama. Kapuri-puri ang pagkatao ng kanilang ama na walang kinikilingan sa dalawa. Alam lamang niya na mas kinakailangan ni Dora ng pagkalinga kung kaya't mas malaki ang oras at atensiyon ang ibinibigay niya dito habang si Kimmy naman ay may sapat na kakayanan upang alagaan ang sarili. Sa kabila pa rin nito'y labis pa rin ang pagmamahal niya dito. Hindi nga lang ito naramdaman ni Kimmy sa simula kung kaya't inakala niyang siya'y hindi minamahal. Naging salat tuloy sa pagmamahal si Kimmy at nauwi sa galit ang inggit sa kapatid. Sa bandang huli nama'y natutunan parehas nila Kimmy at Dora ang halaga ng bawat isa at namayani pa rin ang pagmamahal sa pagitan ng magkapatid. Pagkatapos ng lahat ng unos sa magkapatid ay hindi pa rin maitatanngi na iisa ang dugong nananalaytay sa kanilang ugat at hindi nila matatakasan ang natatanging dahilan ng kanilang pagkatao – pag-ibig. Bagama't kapuri-puri ang aral ng pelikula ay hindi pa rin ito angkop sa mga batang manonood dahil sa tema nito na may ilang eksena ng krimen, karahasan, at mangilan-ngilang sekswalidad, kung kaya't nararapat lamang ang pelikula sa mga may edad 14 pataas.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Land of the Lost

"ASSESSMENT ONLY"
Cast: Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel, Jorma Taccone; Director: Brad Silberling; Producers: Jimmy Miller and Sid & Marty Krofft; Screenwriter: Chris Martinez; Music: Michael Giacchino; Editor: Peter Teschner; Genre: Comedy/ Fantasy; Cinematography: Dion Beebe; Distributor: Universal Studios; Location: USA; Running Time: 93 min.;

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


BRIEF FILM SYNOPSIS

On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marchall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist. In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka, their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures.


OUTSTANDING FEATURES OF THE FILM:

ADDITIONAL REMARKS: May be intended for children but there are sexual insinuations for adults.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Up

Cast (Voice): Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, Jerome Ranft; Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson; Producer: Jonas Rivera; Screenwriters: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson; Music: Michael Giacchino; Editor: Katherine Ringgold; Genre: Animation; Cinematography: Ricky Nierva; Distributor: Walt Disney Studious Motion Pictures;

Technical Assessment: 4.5
Moral Assessment: 4.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers of all ages

The freckle-faced boy Carl had an idol—the explorer Charles Muntz (voice of Christopher Plummer) making news by flying his zeppelin over South America trying to capture a colorful 13-foot bird. Carl would soon meet, fall in love with and marry Ellie, a girl who shared his adventuresome spirit. They would have a dream of building a house on a mesa by Paradise Falls, but before this dream could come true, Ellie died. The real life adventure of Carl Fredericksen (voice of Ed Asner) begins when the widower is now a balloon street vendor, and as grumpy as anyone who’s approaching his 80s with an unfulfilled dream. Pestered by real estate developers who wants him committed to a home for the aged, Carl fastens thousands of helium-filled balloons to his house, and using a clothesline as a sail, literally gets away from it all, flying off to the blue yonder to follow his dream. But he has unwanted baggage he cannot shake off—an 8-year old boy scout whose collection of honor medals lacks but one to complete. And that one missing medal is awarded for “assisting the elderly.” Sharing the fragile house held afloat by toy balloons, the dreamer-septuagenarian and the eager boy scout go through a weird and wonderful adventure of a lifetime, along the way meeting talking dogs, the explorer Muntz now a recluse in his zeppelin, and the 13-foot squawking bird that Muntz so desperately wants to capture.

Disney/Pixar (maker of Wall-E and Cars) outdoes itself with this perfect story that has something worthwhile for viewers of any age or inclination. The animation is flawless, the flow of action smooth, and the world created by the colorful characters is at once down-to-earth and otherworldly—a feat seldom achieved by a “cartoon movie”. The use of the montage showing the love story of Carl and Ellie from childhood is a masterstroke at storytelling without words. More than all the glowing praises CINEMA and countless movie critics the world over can heap upon Up, it’s the values in the movie that will take it to the heights of filmdom success. Superior substance and technical excellence make for a winner, and Up certainly has both—and more.

Up opened the Cannes Film Festival this year, gave the critics a high, and has since been uplifting moviegoers everywhere. It’s not a fairy tale, a superhero adventure, or an action thriller. It has a love story but the lovers don’t live happily ever after. It offers adventure but its hero fights the enemy with a walking cane. And just look where all that action comes from! There is something breathtaking and magical about seeing a fully-furnished house being lifted up, up and away by thousands of toy balloons. It wakes up the child in us, makes us believe in the impossible, heightens our sense of wonder, emboldens us to pursue unforgettable dreams. The message in Up is a life-giving one, and being such may be read any which life-giving way by anyone. CINEMA dares to put forth a hypothesis: it is a symbolic yet concrete illustration of the soul’s ascent to God. Heavy? Wait. Listen. Tie some balloons around your neck.

To a child, balloons could very well represent a vehicle that takes one up to the mysterious blue skies it calls heaven—and heaven is, to a child, the dwelling place of God. But a child grows into an adult, and the succession of lights and shadows, highs and lows, sunshine and storms, make up the experience which accompanies the process of growth into adulthood. But, again, adulthood is accompanied by pleasures and desires that lead to attachment, hindering one’s ascent to freedom. In the movie this is graphically illustrated—by the need to lighten up and discard things inside the house in order for the deflating balloons to lift it up again. A picture of Ellie which falls off the wall and breaks is a lesson in detachment from the past, no matter how fulfilling it has been. And the arrival of unfamiliar creatures and unexpected misfortunes presents a challenge to live the moment, be attentive to the present, brave death in order to find your hidden strength. There is so much more to “read” in Up, but you must do it yourself. For now it suffices to say that Up has a subliminal appeal to the contemplative in each of us, but it has to take the form of a movie for children, because it is only through a child’s eyes can we see that part of us that’s aching to take our soul to its final and deathless destination.