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, December 31, 2010

Fr. Jejemon


A note from CINEMA: Days before the Manila Film Festival opened last Dec. 25, a barrage of text messages, calls and emails came our way at CINEMA, demanding action or at least condemnation of the movie Fr. Jejemon. A number of concerned Catholics saw the movie’s trailer and were offended by what they perceived to be “sacrilegious” scenes involving the Holy Eucharist. Some wanted the movie banned; others to delete those scenes from the film. The contentious scenes, supposedly during communion, showed a wafer stuck in a woman’s cleavage and another caught between an old person’s dentures. CINEMA got all sorts of protests: Sacrilege! Blasphemy! An affront to the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist! This is an attack on the Church! Why are you so quiet? Aren’t the bishops going to say something? Aren’t you going to do something about it? Parrying those knee jerk reactions kept us busy for some time, but we did patiently explain to them that CINEMA does not evaluate trailers, and that as matter of policy we do not comment on a movie until we have seen it in its entirety and evaluated both its technical and moral contents. We wish to put that on record for the benefit of the movie-going faithful. Lastly, allow us to suggest: next time there’s a similar uproar, please see the whole movie before joining the fray.

CAST: Dolphy, Cherie Gil, Maja Salvador, Ejay Falcon, Roy Alvarez, Tony Mabesa, Efren Reyes Jr., Nash Aguas, Roadfill, Moymoy Palaboy and Rhap Salazar DIRECTOR: Frank Gray Jr. WRITERS: Bibeth Orteza and Rhandy Reyes PRODUCER: RVQ Productions

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3.5
CINEMA Rating: PG 13 (For viewers aged 13 and below with parental guidance)


Matanda at nanghihina na si Fr. Baby (Tony Mabesa), kura paroko ng parokya Parm Bil. Ang tanging kasama’t taga-alaga sa kumbento ni Fr. Baby ay ang kanyang kapatid na si Violeta (Cherie Gil) at ang anak nitong si Isabel (Maja Salvador). Bilang paghahanda sa kanyang pagyao, hiling ni Fr. Baby na makatulong niya sa kaniyang parokya ang kanyang kababatang si Fr. Jejemon (Dolphy) pinaikling “Jeremiah Jerome Montes.” Tatanggihan ni Violeta (Cherie Gil) ang pagdating ni Fr. Jejemon sa pangambang palalayasin nito silang mag-ina kapag wala na ni Fr. Baby. Tatangkaaing buwisitin ni Violeta si Fr. Jejemon sa pag-asang lilisanin nito ang parokya pagkat hindi ito kawili-wili, ngunit mahinahon lang tatanggapin ng pari ito, pati na ang paninira sa kanya ng asenderong si Mr. Perez o “Mr. P” (Roy Alvarez). Bilang nagmamay-ari ng pataniman ng kape, si Mr. P ay popular sa mga tao sa Parm Bil pagkat ugali nitong tumulong sa mga nangangailangan, ngunit “maaamoy” ni Fr. Jejemon ang tunay na layunin ni Mr. P at pagdududahan nito ang pagka-malapit ng asendero sa alkalde at hepe ng pulisya ng Parm Bil. Pagkat tama ang kutob ni Fr. Jejemon, takot si Mr. P na mabunyag ang katotohan tungkol sa kanya, kaya’t kukuntsabahin at susuhulan ni Mr. P ang ilang mga ina sa parokya upang palabasing isang “pedophile” o nang-aabuso ng mga bata si Fr. Jejemon.

Pangunahing layunin: magpatawa
Kapag nasa isang pelikula si Dolphy, tinaguriang “Hari ng Komedya” sa industriya ng pelikula sa Pilipinas, umasa kang hindi maaaring walang pagtawanan. Kuwela man o korni ang mga patawa, hinihingi man ito ng kuwento o hindi, hindi mawawala iyan pagkat iyan ang pangunahing layunin ni Dolphy sa paggawa ng pelikula: ang magpasaya ng manunood, kahit siya na ang pagtawanan ng mga kritiko. Tutal, biling-bili naman siya ng kanyang mga tagahanga pagkat kuhang-kuha niya ang kiliti ng masang aliw na aliw sa slapstick at toilet humor.

Sa Fr. Jejemon, makikita mong marami ang patawang korni at walang kinalaman sa istorya, na alam mong isinisingit pa rin para lang magpatawa. Meron ding patawang napapaloob sa istorya pero eksaherada naman sa haba—tulad nung eksena ng tatlong matatandang hikain na bumubuo ng koro—sinasayang lang ang oras. May mga patawa din namang sadyang nakakatawa dahil hindi pilit at nakabase pa sa mga totoong pangyayari, kagaya nung “tumikim” ng alak na pang-misa yung tatlong batang sakristan, kaya gumewang-gewang ang lakad nila patungong altar at nagkandatulog pa sa misa.

Hindi maaaring pagtawanan
Ang hindi mo pagtatawanan ay ang pagganap ni Dolphy bilang isang pari: dibdiban. Ang papel ni Dolphy sa Fr. Jejemon ay katuparan ng isang pangarap para sa “King Of Comedy.” Sa ilang dekada niya bilang artista, lumabas na si Dolphy sa kung ano-anong papel maliban lamang sa pari. Sa Fr. Jejemon (na ayon kay Dolphy ay huli na niyang pagsali sa Manila Film Festival), nagampanan nang mahusay ni Dolphy ang ipinipinta ng kuwentong larawan ng isang maka-Diyos at maka-taong pari na laging panatag ang kalooban sa anumang kalagayan. Ang pagiging ulirang pari ni Fr. Jejemon ay hindi nakasalalay sa isang uri ng di-makabasag-pinggang panglabas na kabanalan, hindi sa pagiging isang santo-santito, kundi sa pagiging isang tunay na taong tapat sa sarili at sa Diyos.

Bagama’t pa-kuwela at maunawain si Fr. Jejemon sa mga kabataan, hindi siya kunsintidor; marunong siyang manuheto kung kinakailangan. Masayahin siyang tao at mahilig magbiro, pero kung dapat maging siryoso, siryoso siya, halimbawa’y kapag kinakausap niya nang masinsinan si Fr. Baby o kapag nagsesermon siya. At kahit napapaligiran na siya ng “kakuwanan” ng mga tao, kahit siya na mismo ang pinupuntirya nito, hindi ito nagiging dahilan para siya ay mainis o magalit. “Dedma” lang, hindi siya nagtatampo sa Diyos.

Saan nag-uugat ang lakas ni Fr. Jejemon?
Maaaring hindi ito sinasadyang isaad sa pelikula ngunit maliwanag na makikita rito ang ugat ng pagiging panatag ni Fr. Jejemon kahit sa harap ng panganib: ang kanyang puso ay puso ng isang paslit—payak, mapagtiwala sa Diyos, walang pagkukunwari. Nasasalamin ito sa paraan ng kanyang pananalangin kung saan—habang nakaluhod sa harap ng imahen ng nakapakong Kristo—mistula siyang isang musmos na nakikipag-usap sa kanyang mapagmahal na Ama. Ikinalulungkot niya na tila hindi siya tanggap ng mga tao sa parokya; nangangako siya sa Panginoon na tatanggapin niya kahit saang parokya siya ipadala, ngunit humihingi siya ng palatandaan, ng liwanag, upang matiyak kung ano ang kalooban ng Diyos para sa kanya.

Kung paano siya makipag-usap sa kanyang Ama sa langit, ganoon ding kapayak ang kanyang pakikipag-usap sa kanyang inang nakabaon na sa lupa. Ang unang-unang hinango ni Fr. Jejemon mula sa kanyang maleta pagdating niya sa kanyang bagong silid-tulugan ay isang aklat-dasalan, sinundan ng isang naka-kuwadrong larawan ng kanyang yumaong ina na lagi niyang kinakau-kausap na animo’y buhay at kasama niya sa kuwarto.

Nagpapatawa lang ba talaga?
Hinangad lang kaya ng pelikulang Fr. Jejemon na magpatawa lamang, o tinangka din kaya nitong tawagin ang pansin ng mga nanunood sa ilang bagay tungkol sa ating pananampalataya, sa Simbahang Katoliko, at sa kalagayan ng mga pari? Maaaring tulad ng dati, gusto lang ng pelikula ni Dolphy na magbigay-aliw habang nagbabahagi din ng ilang makabuluhang aral. Ngunit sa mga manunood na bukas ang “ikatlong mata” at may damdamin sa Simbahan, mayroong mga parating ang Fr. Jejemon na makabubuting pagnilayan.pagkatapos ng tawanan.

Isa na rito, bukod sa mga nabanggit na, ay ang kalagayan ng mga paring matatanda na’y wala pang makahalili sa parokya. Sino ang mangangalaga sa kapakanan nila upang sila ay hindi mapagsamantalahan ng mga makapangyarihan at halang ang kaluluwa sa kanilang parokya? Tama ba na ang mga kadugo ng pari ang mga kasama niya sa kumbento? May nagmamalasakit ba sa kanilang kilos at pananamit upang tiyaking wasto ang kanilang bihis at kapita-pitagan ang kanilang anyo? Bagama’t mukhang malinis ang damit ng dalawang pari sa pelikula, kapuna-punang mali ang paggamit ni Fr. Jejemon sa Roman collar niya—nasa ilalim ng kuwelyo ng ordinayo at makukulay na polo shirt. Ito ba’y kapabayaan ng direktor at costume designer, o tanda ng pagiging kakaiba ni Fr. Jejemon, o sinasabi ba ng pelikula na ang mga tumatandang pari ay wala nang pakialam sa katumpakan ng pananamit nila?

Kapuna-puna rin na sa pagkamalapit ng mga kabataan kay Fr. Jejemon ay natural lamang na yakap-yakapin siya ng mga ito. Ngunit kahit isang marilag na dalaga (Salvador) ang yumayapos at humihilig sa dibdib niya, kilos-pari pa din si Fr. Jejemon, “malinis ang hipo” ika nga, at walang malisyang mababakas sa mukha, tunay na “tatay ng lahat.” Sa eksenang ito, agad naming naalala ang pagmamahal at debosyon ni Fr. Jejemon sa kanyang yumaong ina na tila buhay pa kung kausapin niya. Maaaring ang inang ito ang kumakatawan sa Birheng Maria sa kanyang pagka-pari, kaya’t napapatnubayan siya nito laban sa tukso ng laman—sino ang makapagsasabi? Maaaring tinutugon din ng Diyos ang debosyon ng pari sa mahal niyang ina, kung kaya’t hindi rin siya nayayanig nang siya ay nililibak na ng mga parokyano bilang isang pedophile. Habang namamalatak na sa tuwa ang mga utak ng paninira kay Fr. Jejemon, hindi niya ipinagdiinan ang kanyang pagka-malinis, bagkus ay naghahanda siyang lumisan sa parokya na buo ang tiwala na lulutang din ang katotohanan pagdating ng panahon.

Katapatan at katapangan
Ang katapatan ni Fr. Jejemon sa kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin ay nababakas sa kanyang walang-luhong pamumuhay. Nang dumating siya sa Parokya Parm Bil at inilagay siya ni Violeta sa kuwartong mistulang bodega sa kalat at dumi, masaya niyang tinanggap iyon. Masaya niyang ginagampanan ang kanyang tungkulin sa kabila ng pagiging hamak ng kanilang parokya—wala silang magarang kumbento, sariling man lamang sasakyan, o makabagong mga kagamitan na maaaring makatulong sa kanilang Gawain. Para kay Fr. Jejemon, ang yaman ng Parm Bil ay ang mga parokyano—lalo na ang mga kabataang na inaasahan niyang magdulot ng pagbabago sa parokyang malaon nang pinaghaharian ng kasakiman at sabwatan nila Mr. P, ng alkalde, at ng hepe ng pulisya.

Kung katatawanan ang hanap mo at ang titingnan mo lamang ay ang mga poster ng pelikula, mae-engganyo kang manood ng Fr. Jejemon, at maaaring makita mo ang hanap mong aliw. Kung isa ka naman doon sa mga nangalisag ang balahibo at naglabas ng pangil dahil sa nakita mong kabastusan sa trailer ng pelikula, at nag-aabang ka pa ng mga pambabastos na lalo mo pang ikagagalit, masisiphayo ka, pagkat ang pari dito ay isang tapat, matapang at mahinahong kalaban ng kasamaan. Sa kadulu-duluhan ng pelikula, mauunawaan ng masusing manunood na ang Fr. Jejemon ay isang butil ng ginto na nababalot sa mumurahing palara. Sana, dumami pa ang mga paring katulad ni Fr. Jejemon.--By Teresa R. Tunay OCDS

Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last na 'to)


Lead Actors: Ai Ai delas Alas, Eugene Domingo, Marvin Agustin, Shaina Magdayao, Nikki, Carlo Aquino Musical Director: Jesse Loseten Editor: Maya Ignacio Story and Screenplay: Mel Del Rosario Director: Wenn V Deramas Producer: Charo Concio and Malou Santos Distributor: Star Cinema Genre: Drama/Comedy Location: Manila Running Time: 110 minutes

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: PG 13


Masaya naman sana sa buhay ang tanging ina na si Ina a.k.a. Madam (Ai Ai de las Alas) sa kabila ng pangungulila sa ibang anak na hindi na niya kapiling. Subalit napuno siya ng agam-agam matapos ma-diagnose ang di-matiyak na karamdaman na pinangangambahang malubha at maaring bilang na araw ng kanyang buhay. Sumailalim sa iba’t ibang pagsusuri si Ina at habang hinihintay ang resulta ay namayani sa kanya ang takot dahil sa tingin niya ay hindi siya handang iwan ang kanyang mga anak. Ipinasya ni Ina na ilihim sa kanyang mga anak ang kanyang kalagayan. May kani-kaniyang masalimuot na sitwasyon ang magkakapatid at ayaw niyang makadagdag pa sa kanilang alalahanin. Dahil sa mga problema ay madalas na namamagitan si Ina sa mga pagtatalo sa loob ng bahay. Sa mga panahon ng ganitong ligalig ay di naman siya iniwan ng matalik niyan kaibigan na si Rowena (Eugene Domingo). Di sang-ayon si Rowena sa paglilihim ni Ina sa mga anak pero iginalang at sinuportahan niya ang pasya ng kaibigan. Kahit mabigat sa loob ay sinamahan niya si Ina sa mga paghahanda sa kanyang pagpanaw. Inayos niya ang paghahati-hati ng ari-arian sa bangko para mailipat sa mga anak at walang pataw na magmahalan, magkaisa at magkasundo ang magkakapatid. Isang kahilingan ni Ina na bago siya pumanaw ay makapiling niya ang lahat ng kanyang mga anak.

Pagpapatuloy sa pagwawakas ng unang dalawang kuwento ang Tanging Ina mo rin (last na ‘to). Uminog ito sa tema ng pagkakaroon ng malubhang karamdaman ng bida at ang pagdadala nito bilang ina. Maganda ang naging takbo at pagbibigay saysay sa pagwawakas ng kwento ng tanging Ina. Mahusay ang pagkakadirehe ng pelikula. Matagumpay na nailabas ang mga kinakailangan emosyon sa mga eksenang drama at patawa. Magaling ang mga nagsiganap sa paghahatid ng mga karakter na kanilang ginampanan. Hindi nabigo ang pelikula sa mga datihan at baguhang artista. Bawa’t isa ay may mga tampok na eksena at naging markadong pagganap mapa-drama o komedya. Maayos ang mga kuha ng kamera. Hindi masyadong gumamit ng effects dahil di naman kailangan. Maganda ang disenyo ng produksyon, gayundin ang make-up. May konting sablay sa editing sa mga pagpapalit ng eksena pero halos di nahalata. Akma ang inilapat na musika lalo na sa mga sundot ng eksena ng pagtutog ng piyano at trumpeta ng kasambahay sa pelikula. Sa kabuuan ay maganda ang teknikal na aspeto at makikitaan ang mga nasa likod nito ng pagsisikap na makagawa ng makabuluhang panoorin.

Muling ipinakita sa pelikulang Tanging Ina mo rin (last na ‘to) ang kadakilaan ng isang ina na walang hinahangad kundi ang malagay sa ayos ang mga anak. Sa mga panahon ng pagsubok ay nagpapakatatag ang isang ina at humuhugot ng lakas sa pananalangin sa Diyos, sa pagmamahal ng mga anak at suporta ng matapat na kaibigan. Malinaw ang hatid na aral ng pelikula lalo na sa mga anak na palaging magkasundo. Bagamat natural ang pagkakaroon ng alitan sa pagitan ng isa’t isa, lalo na sa mga praktikal na kadahilanan katulad ng pera o utang at palitan ng masasakit na salita ay di marapat na magkimkim ng galit at sama ng loob para manatili ang kapayapaan at pagmamahalan sa tahanan. Sa halip ay unawa at suporta ang dapat na pairalin upang maging maayos ang buhay. Para sa mga magulang, may hatid na kasiyahan ang makitang nagkakasundo ang mga anak na may kani-kaniya ng buhay. Gayundin naman mas mainam ang pagiging bukas sa bawat isa at huwag maliitin ang kakayahan ng mga anak na maunawaan ang mga seryosong kalagayan lalo na may kaugnayan sa buhay at kalusugan sa pamilya.

Sagana sa positibong mensahe ang pelikula bagama’t nabahiran ito ng salungat na parating: sa kagustuhan marahil na magpatawa ng pelikula, naging paulit-ulit ang pamimintas at panlalait ng ina sa panlabas na anyo ng mapapangasawa ng kanyang magandang anak. Binalewala ng pelikula ang gintong kawikaan na di dapat husgahan ang tao sa panlabas na anyo kundi sa nilalaman ng puso at sa pag-uugali nito. –By Imelda Benitez

Dalaw


Cast: Kris Aquino, Diether Ocampo, Maliksi Morales, Susan Africa, Gina Parreno, Karylle, Alessandra de Rossi; Director: Dondon Santos; Screenplay: Joel Mercado; Producer/ Distributor: Star Cinema; Running Time:100 minutes; Location: Manila; Genre: Horror

Technical Assessment: 2
Moral Assessment: 2
Rating: For Viewers 14 years old and above


Ang biyudang si Stella (Kris Aquino) ay nakatakdang ikasal sa kanyang dating kasintahan at tunay na mahal na si Anton (Diether Ocampo). Ngunit tila tutol dito ang kululuwa ng kanyang namayapa nang asawa niyang si Danilo dahil sa madalas nitong pagpaparamdam sa kanya. Sa araw ng kanilang kasal, inatake ang ina ni Anton na pinaghihinalaang pinagmultuhan ni Danilo. Kinailangang alagaan ang ina ni Anton kung kaya’t napilitan si ang mag-asawang Stella at Anton na lumipat at manirahan sa lumang bahay nito kasama ang anak ni Stella kay Danilo na si Paolo (Maliksi Morales). Ngunit tila sumusunod pa rin ang kaluluwa ni Danilo sa kanila dahil sa maraming kababalaghang nangyayari sa kanilang pamilya. Subalit balot ng hiwaga ang mga dalaw kay Stella, at sa pamamagitan ng katulong nilang si Olga (Gina Pareno), malalaman din ni Stella kung ano ang multong sumusunod sa kanya at ginugulo ang buhay niya.

Sa mga taong sadyang matatakutin at mapaniwalain sa multo at pamahiin, maaaring makagulat pa ang Dalaw, tulad ng napansin naming ilan sa mga nanunuod na napapatili pa sa mga panggulat na eksena. Ngunit sa pihikan at masusing manunood na may alam sa mga aspetong teknikal ng paggawa ng pelikula, naging katawa-tawa lang ito. Nagsubok maghain ang Dalaw ng kakaibang kuwentong katatakutan sa pagpupuno ng maraming komplikasyon sa kuwento. Ngunit sa halip na maging kakaiba ay naging kakatwa ang kinalabasan nito. Sa pagsasama-sama ng maraming elemento, naging mas magulo ang pelikula sa kabuuan. Maraming dapat sana’y mga nakakagulat na eksena ay nagiging katawa-tawa na lamang; ang ilan nama’y parang nakaka-insulto lang ng katalinuhan.

Sa kagustuhan ng Dalaw na piliting maniwala ang manunood sa multo, pinagpatung-patong nito ang mga eksena ng pananakot hanggang maisip mo nang, “Sobra namang kulit ng multong iyan!” lalo pa’t gasgas na ang mga panggulat na iyon sa laksa-laksang horror movies na naipalabas na. Sa kabuuan ay hindi napalabas ng pelikula na ang isang multo ay may mga kakayahang tulad ng kanilang ipinakita, pagka’t tila pinakyaw na ng isang multong ito sa Dalaw ang lahat ng kapangyarihan ng lahat ng mga multo sa buong kasaysayan ng pinilakang tabing. May multo ba talagang makapagkakalat ng putik saan man siya pumunta? Nahahawakan na ba talaga ang multo ngayon at maari nang makipagbuno sa kanila? At ang katawa-tawa pa, bakit nang makipagbuno ang multo sa tao ay nabura ang putik sa braso nito at lumitaw ang tunay niyang balat? (Ay, taong putik lang pala!). Sa maraming eksena ay nakakasapaw ang tunog at kakatwang musika na lalong nagpa-korni sa pelikula. Kakatwa din ang pag-arte ng mga tauhan na tila hindi nagtutugma-tugma. Nasayang ang kani-kanilang galing. Si Aquino ay pasado na sana ngunit lumalabas pa rin siyang nakakatawa kapag mataas na ang eksena dahil kulang sa damdamin. Si Ocampo ay wala pa rin gaanong ibubuga. Nakakahinayang ang husay nila Pareno, Africa, de Rossi at Karylle subalit gawa ng mataimtim nilang pagganap ay—sige na nga!—nagkaroon ng kaunting kabuluhan ang pelikula bilang isang sining.

Gaano nga ba kalakas ang ang kapangyarihan ng isang kaluluwa o ng multo ng yumaong hindi matahimik? Ito ang isang malaking katanungan sa Dalaw. Oo nga’t may pinanggagalingang negatibong emosyon ang isang kaluluwa kung kaya’t hindi ito matahimik, pero anong klaseng kapangyarihan ang naidudulot nito upang makagambala nang ganoong katindi? Kung ito man ay kapangyarihang itim, hindi ba dapat na nilabanan agad ito ng kapangyarihan ng kabutihan at dasal? Sa halip, mas naging mapaniwalain si Stella sa kapangyarihan ng kababalaghan imbes na manalangin sa pagtataboy ng masamang espiritu. Naganap man ito sa bandang huli—sa bendisyon na isinagawa ng isang pari—hindi naman naging malinaw kung ito nga ba ay ipinalalabas nilang nakatulong o nakapagpalala pa sa situasyon. May mga kasalanang pinagsisihan sa bandang huli ngunit kailangan pa bang takutin at pagmultuhan ang isang tao para mabagabag ang budhi niya? Hindi rin nilinaw kung ano ang naging plano ng isang lalaki sa magiging anak nito sa kanyang kasintahan at palabasing tama ang kanyang desisyong magpakasal sa iba habang mayroon pala itong sinasaktan at pinapabayaan.

Sa kabuuan ay malabo rin ang mensaheng nais ipahiwatig ng Dalaw. Ninais lamang ba nitong kilitiin ang mga manonood sa pagbibigay ng kuwentong katatakutan? Gusto lamang ba nitong bigyang babala ang mga lalaking nang-iiwan sa kanilang mga binubuntis? Ang pinakamalaking pagkakamali ng Dalaw ay hindi ang maging katawa-tawa sa kaniyang pananakot, kungdi ang hayaang apihin ng paghihiganti ng isang multo ang tao. Bakit ni hindi naisip ninuman sa kanila ang tumakbo sa Diyos, manalangin at humingi ng tulong gayong nginig na nginig na sila sa takot? May imahen mang sagrado kang masisilip sa ilang mga eksena, ito’y nagsisilbing dekorasyon lang sa dingding o sa altar. Wala silang pinagtitiwalaan kungdi ang sarili nilang lakas—tuloy nawika ng isang matabil naming katabi sa sinehan, “Alam mo nang hindi mo kaya, hindi ka pa magdasal, buti nga sa iyo!” At hindi pa tapos yan: sa dulo ng pelikula, ipinahiwatig pa na hindi pa nasisiyahan ang multo sa dami ng pinatay nitong mga tao sa kanyang paghihiganti. May isa pa siyang pinupuntirya—isang walang sala. At doon nagwakas ang pelikula.

Ang MTRCB rating sa Dalaw ay PG 13. Ibig sabihin nito, puwede itong panoorin ng mga batang wala pang 13-taong gulang, basta’t magagabayan ng mga magulang. Kung sa murang edad pa lamang ay tinuturuan na natin ang mga bata sa pamamagitan ng pelikula na higit pang makapangyarihan ang multo kaysa tao—at walang Diyos na maaaring tumulong sa tao—ano na ang mangyayari sa kinabukasan ng ating magulo nang lipunan?--By Rizalino Pinlac

Super Inday and the Golden Bibe



Cast: Marian Rivera, John Lapuz, Mylene Dizon, Jake Cuenca, Pokwang; Direction: Michael Tuviera; Story and Screenplay: Aloy Adlawan; Cinematography: ; Editing: Jay Halili; Music: Aldred Ongleo ; Producers: Roselle Monteverde, Lily Monteverde; Genre: Fantasy/Comedy; Running Time:2 hours 6 minutes; Location: Manila; Distributor: Regal Films

Technical Assessment : 2.5
Moral Assessment : 3.5
Rating : PG 13


Ibinagsak sa lupa ang anghel na si Goldie (John Lapuz) upang maghanap ng panibagong superhero bago siya muling makabalik sa langit. Kasama ang isang tyanak na namatay bilang sanggol ay pupuntiryahin nila si Inday (Marian Rivera) upang bigyan ng mga pagsubok bago ipagkaloob ang buong kapangyarihan ng isang superhero. Si Inday ay isang simpleng probinsyana na nagpunta sa Maynila upang hanapin ang kanyang tunay na ina. Mamamasukan siya sa dating pinagtratrabahuhan ng ina bilang katulong. Bagamat malupit ang mayordomang si Kokay (Pokwang) at ang bagong asawang si Ingrid (Mylene Dizon) ay mapapalapit naman si Inday sa dalawang anak ni Danilo (Jestoni Alarcon). Samantala, pilit na inaalam ni Super J (Jake Cuenca) ang utak ng mga halimaw na dumurukot sa mga bata. Sa kanyang paghahanap ay mapapadpad siya sa pagawaan ng mga laruan na pag-aari ni Danilo at Ingrid. Dito magkakatagpo-tagpo ang kanilang mga landas para sa maaksyong katatawanan.

Unang ipinalabas ang Super Inday and the Golden Bibe nuong 1988 sa pangunguna ni Maricel Soriano. Kaya naman hindi maiiwasan ang paghahambing sa dalawang pelikula. Di hamak na mas malinaw ang daloy ng kwento ng naunang bersyon. Sa dami ng sub-plots ng bersyon ni Tuviera ay hilaw at malabnaw ang pagbuo nito. Mababaw din ang mga diyalogo at may kakornihan pati ang komedya nito. Nasa Super Inday and the Golden Bibe ang laging sakit ng pelikulang Pinoy: ang umaalingawngaw na eksena at katauhang kinopya buhat sa ibang pelikulang banyaga (si Batman at mga alagad ni Joker sa The Dark Knight), ang napakadaling hulaan na daloy ng kwento at ang pag-uulit ng katatapos na biro o eksena para siguradong naiintindihan ng manunuod. At dahil pantasya ang pelikula ay bibigyang bigat ang husay ng mga special effects, na sa lawak ng kakayahan ng post production sa panahon ngayon ay pipitsugin pa rin ang ipinakikita sa pelikula. Unang-unang kapintasan ay pagka halata ang pagkakapatong ng mga kuha sa chroma at ang madalas na paggamit ng slow motion tuwing eksena ng aksyon. Madalian ang pagkakagawa ng ibang special effects. Halimbawa ay sumobra sa motion blur at color correction ang eksena ng paglipad nina Super J at Super Inday. Maraming elemento ng produksyon ang hindi rin masyadong napag-isipan. Tulad ng pagkakaroon lamang ng iisang katulong sa napakalaking bahay na pinaglilingkuran ni Inday o ang kakatwang itsura ng mga laruang binuhay ni Ingrid na mukhang mga mascot sa isang walang kwentang children’s party. Isa pa’y ang hindi-kapani-paniwalang itsura ni Irma Adlawan bilang inang may sakit ni Inday—masyado siyang makinis, hindi mukhang kawawa o may sakit; tinipid lang ba sa make-up o talagang nakaligtaan? Maging ang musika at tunog ay hindi na rin masyadong binusisi. Sayang ang husay sa pag-ganap nina Rivera, Dizon at Pokwang na natabunan lamang ng mababaw na katatawanan. Sa kabuuan, nakakaaliw ang Super Inday and the Golden Bibe, pero maraming maipipintas dito ang mga manunuod na mahilig mamburirit ng aspetong teknikal sa pelikula.

Sa kabila ng kapintasang teknikal sa Super Inday and the Golden Bibe, mairerekomenda pa rin ng CINEMA ang pelikula kahit sa mga bata, pagkat bukod sa wala itong mahahalay na eksena, maraming aral na laman ito. Hindi lamang mga itlog ng bibe ang ginintuan sa pelikula kundi ang mga maraming aral din. Halimbawa, malinaw na isinasaad nito kung ano ang bumubuo sa isang superhero. Hindi basta’t super powers kundi ang kabusilakan at kabutihan ng pagkatao. Ito ang isa sa mga magagandang aral ng pelikula. Hindi lamang basta magaling sa suntukan o may pambihirang kapangyarihan ang mga katangian ng isang bayani. Higit sa panlabas na kakayahan ay ang ganda ng kalooban ang kailangan. Ang pagiging bayani ay hindi isang pamana o suwerte kundi pinaghihirapan dahil hinihingi nito ang kabaitan, pagiging mapagpatawad, katapangan at ang pagkahandang isakripisyo ang sarili para sa kapakananan ng iba. Magandang halimbawa, lalo sa mga kabataan, ang katauhan ni Inday na kinailangang dumaan sa maraming pagsubok bago ginawaran ng kapangyarihan. Isa sa mga pagsubok ay ang buong pusong pagtanggap sa pananagutang kaakibat ng kapangyarihan. Mainam na binigyang-diin ang aspetong ito lalo na sa panahon ngayon kung kailan tila mas ginugusto pa ng taong maging malaya mula sa tungkulin o obligasyon sa kanyang kapwa kaysa maging tagapaglingkod ng kabutihan. Kapansin-pansin din na bilang isang ganap na superhero, walang high tech gadgets si Inday; bagkus ay Pilipino pa rin ang mga sandata niya: batya’t palu-palo. --By Josephine Fenomeno

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Secretariat


CAST: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, James Cromwell, Kevin Connolly, Nelsan Ellis, Dylan Baker, Margo Martindale, Otto Thorwarth, Fred Thompson; DIRECTOR: Randall Wallace; WRITER: Mike Rich; GENRE: Drama; RUNNING TIME: 123 min.

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 3
R 14 (For viewers aged 14 and up)


Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) refuses to sell the horse farm that her ailing father (Scott Glenn) had built from scratch. Partly because she wants to honor her father’s efforts while trusting her hunches, she decides to keep it despite pressure from her family who need the money badly, and from her husband Jack Tweedy (Dylan Walsh) and her children who she frequently leaves behind in Colorado in order to visit the farm in Virginia. She fires a disloyal farm manager and hires a retired trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich), resolved to put the farm back on its feet. To raise funds she decides to sell one of their two best horses. In a ritual familiar to horse breeders, she flips a coin with a millionaire Ogden Phipps (James Cromwell) who gets the horse he wants—which is fortunate for Penny because what she really wants is the other horse, a pregnant mare. Together with her young son and the trainer Lucien, Penny is present when the mare gives birth to a male foal that stands up as soon as he is out of the mare’s womb. The groom, Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis), says he has never seen a horse rise on its legs that soon after birth. In due time they name him “Secretariat”.

Secretariat is the name of a true-to-life race horse whose record, set in 1973—as the first Triple Crown champion in 25 years—still stands today, after 37 years. The movie boasts of a no-nonsense script by Mike Rich which does justice to the book on which the film is based, “Secretariat” by William Nack. If the movie feels authentic, it is because Nack (who was a reporter at Newsday) followed the horse all throughout its life, practically becoming its biographer for 20 years. Also, every actor in the film couldn’t have been more perfectly cast, delivering performances that make no room for frills or unnecessary soap. Lane and Malkovich are at their top form, creating vivid characters able to elicit sympathy from viewers. (Too bad they do not disclose the identity of the horse that played Secretariat; while he is no actor, he definitely gets as much camera time as any human on the scene). Crisp editing and spot-on cinematography work hand in hand to enhance capable direction by Randall Wallace.

Viewers need not be racetrack enthusiasts to stay awake through 116 minutes this movie. Secretariat may be a great race horse’s name but the film is not just about horses or racing. It’s a fascinating story about that mysterious connection between humans and animals. While it is a rich source of information about horse breeding and consequently horse-racing, it focuses on what people do on a daily basis—the farm owners, the trainer, the groom, the jockeys, the breeders—and how their decisions affect their lives.

Here’s a piece of information that points to the invisible in the story: author Nack said that in real life the people around Secretariat (at Meadow Farm in Virginia) believed the horse was blessed. What was it about Secretariat that emboldened Penny Chenery to refuse to sell the farm despite an impending bankruptcy, to choose to keep her untested horse over a purchase offer of $7 million (the exact amount that would have saved the family from a total wipeout), to hold on to Secretariat when its chances at winning seemed slim? Secretariat’s record-setting performances saved Penny’s family from insolvency—it did more, much more. Could the horse really be “blessed”? By the time of its death at the ripe old age of 19 years, Secretariat had sired 600 foals; the autopsy also revealed that Secretariat’s heart was two and a half times the size of the average horse’s heart. CINEMA gives Secretariat a good rating but this in no way encourages viewers to bet at the races or endanger family ties on the strength of a hunch. Let’s just say that some people are either lucky or have a lot of horse sense. –By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Skyline


CAST: Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, David Zayas, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins; DIRECTOR: Colin Strause, Greg Strause ; SCREENPLAY: Joshua Cordes; DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Studios; RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes; LOCATION: US; GENRE: Suspense-Sci-Fi.

Technical Assessment: 1.5
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above


Jarod (Eric Balfour) and his girlfriend, Elaine (Scottie Thompson) fly to Los Angeles to attend a birthday bash of his longtime friend Terry (Donald Faison). After a wild night of partying, strange beams of eerie blue-ray lights awaken Elaine and Jarod and the rest of the guests. Later on they discover these lights are actually emitted by alien spacecrafts that lure humans in, mutate them and then warp them onto the mother ship that eats human brains. Jarod, who just discovered that Elaine is pregnant, decides that his family, along with their friends, will survive the alien invasion.

There is nothing much to say about the film for it has no legitimate plot to speak of in the first place. Much of the movie is devoted to aliens chasing human beings, and nothing more; the supposed plot points are just incidental to the alien invasion. The story confines itself to the interior of the building, and the audience is not really brought outside to the milieu where the more interesting events could be happening. The special effects could have worked better if the movie had a compelling story or at least decent acting to showcase. Editing is just as bad and everything seems to happen irrationally. In the end, Skyline could simply be one of those forgetable if not disgusting doomsday/alien invasion sci-fi flicks.

The film, as what all sci-fi would always present, puts premium on the value of the preservation of human life. Although such value is presented in a form of “suvival of the fittest”, still, it is apparent how a man would do everything to protect his family. However, such attempts appear to be futile on the humans’ end because apparently, the strange creature is much more powerful, armed, equipped and determined to destroy the planet and all surviving humans. The reason for such is not explained in the movie. At some point, the movie might be trying very hard to equate the story with that of Sodom and Gomorrah with its insinuations of sexual excess, but even those are never really resolved. The movie only presents infidelity, fornication and other vices like drug and alcohol abuse but does not really make a moral stand on these. This makes the film even more disturbing. In the battle between humans and extra-terrestial beings, the latter is seen to be at the winning end. The humans, with all their mortality, weaknesses and limitations shall never win over this war for they are portrayed as powerless, most especially that the characters are portrayed to have no faith in the Divine nor any spirituality to speak of. They rely only on their survival instincts and so they get what they deserve—their brains become snacks for the aliens. The ambiguous ending seems to say that despite everything, the human brain prevails over the monster, and that tenderness and love will assure the safety of the unborn, but then again, nothing in the movie prepares the audience for this conclusion. When all this time you show humans being outsmarted and captured by aliens that look like giant and stylized cephalopods and crustaceans equipped with far superior war craft, how can you create a last-minute hero and be credible?—By Rizalino Pinlac, Jr.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


CAST: Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Laura Brent, Gary Sweet, Arthur Angel, Simon Pegg, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell and Liam Neeson DIRECTOR: Michael Apted SCREENWRITER: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely PRODUCERS: Mark Johnson, Phillip Steuer and Andrew Adamson GENRE: Adventure RUNNING TIME: 115 min DISTRIBUTOR: Twentieth Century Fox

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 3
CINEMA Rating: PG 13 (Children aged 13 and below with parental guidance)


The two youngest Pevensie children Lucy (Georgie Hensley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) reenter the magical kingdom of Narnia through a picture of a sailing ship that comes to life and floods the room with water. This time their unbelieving cousin, Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter) is with them, and the trio find themselves afloat a real sea and face to face with the ship, Dawn Treader, captained by the new king of Narnia (Ben Barnes). They climb on board and soon they are island-hopping with Caspian on a quest to free the land from the curse supposedly originating from the Dark Isle.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader is important enough to merit the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the movie’s recent Royal premier in snow-blanketed London. While this fact does not guarantee that the movie will match the record of its predecessors at the box office, it nonetheless gives a kind of assurance that this latest of the Pevensie children’s adventures will add to the magic of the Christmas season for movie-going families. The Lucy and Edmund characters come to the limelight as the older Pevensie children Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell), on the brink of adulthood, are busy with other things: Peter with his studies, and Susan with travels with their parents. With plenty of flying dragons, dwarves, sea creatures, various warriors and interesting swordfights, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is not wanting in special effects that will bring glee to a younger audience than Harry Potter’s, particularly with the antics of the swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg). This is not to say that it’s a movie for youngsters alone; even the adults in the audience do laugh with the children, and ooh and aah The role of Eustace, the Pevensies’ snooty cousin perfectly assigned to Poulter, steals the thunder from everything, as you’ll see below. over visual delights like row-boating on a sea of white lilies, for instance.

Some critics sneer at the Christian undertones in C. S. Lewis’ series, but even for non-Christians, they do have valuable messages to convey. Some are found in the wisdom of the resurrected Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson), the lion who stands for righteousness. Others are reflected in the challenges and temptations to vanity, power and ill-gotten gold encountered as Caspian and the children search for the seven lost lords of Narnia. Wisdom and righteousness are virtues extolled in all religions, whether or not they believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The most dramatic and real transformation, however, is that of Eustace, the cousin, who starts out as a skeptic, desperately and foolishly clings to the only world he has ever known, and is a first-class pain in the neck—until the magical baton touches his hand.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader reminds us of the value of innocence. Too often, we leap out of childhood all too quickly, and our childlike belief in God is outgrown in the process. But when we are confronted with mystery, and grace touches us despite our stubbornness, we regain our original innocence, and we begin to believe in God again. That, it seems to CINEMA, is the message to adults in this “movie for children”. By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

Monday, December 6, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

CAST: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Wesley), Helena Bonhan Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore) DIRECTOR: David Yates SCREENWRITER: Steve Kloves NOVEL: J.K. Rowling GENRE: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy RUNNING TIME: 150 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. Pictures LOCATION: England
Technical: 3.5 Moral: 3 Rating: R 14 (Aged 14 and above)

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) have begun to bloom into adulthood. Gone are the childish games at Hogwarts School of Wizardry, and though they have the power to materialize where they will, they are now on their own in a wide, wild world, as the Ministry of Magic, led by villain Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) plot their destruction. But how can they fight off Voldemort and his Death Eaters, when they have seemingly outgrown the powers they had so marveled at in their childhood? That Harry now keeps his white owl in a cramped parrot cage speaks of the predominance of new emotions burgeoning in the young heroes’ hearts, among them the wonders of sexual maturity.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, being the first half of the last installment of Rowling’s series, recalls the numerous characters in the previous chapters. Thus, it won’t make sense to you if you are seeing Harry Potter for the first time. It requires an exceptionally retentive memory to piece together the past episodes in order to grasp how this particular one now becomes the logical outcome of the evolving saga. As usual, Harry Potter the movie is Harry Potter the movie—always looked forward to by fans with breathless anticipation. You might be disappointed if you are waiting for more wand-wielding wars among wizards, or flying objects (though there’s a flying bike here) and phenomenal pyrotechnics, because the magical element in this episode is watered down by the human element of coping with a teenagers’ hormonal changes. In fact, many of the forest scenes where the trio helplessly run from their attackers are so reminiscent of those in Twilight-New Moon-Eclipse movies that you half-expect a werewolf to spring from the bushes. One unforgettable portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the Story of Death and the Three Brothers, read by Hermione and depicted as a graceful version of a puppet shadowplay. (Watching it while enjoying the “comfy-comfy” wide seats and the superb sound system of the newly renovated Market-Market Cinema 1, we hoped that stretch of spellbinding puppetry would never end! They could make a whole new movie using that device!)

If there’s something that flies faster than a witch’s broomstick, it is time. And this is so effectively portrayed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where the protagonists are learning fast to rely more on their human instincts than on magical tricks. You cannot help but recall how small they were in the first Harry Potter movie, and now you realize you’ve seen these kids grow up! Hermione is now an attractive young woman who has retained her mental brilliance, Harry has grown into an empathetic gentleman increasingly aware of his destiny, and Ron is, alas!, overpowered by a slipping self-esteem and dark gripping jealousy. When Harry and Hermione kiss topless, you’ll see how time flies, indeed! After all the magical mumbo-jumbo of past episodes—which seemed mere child’s play for the Hogwarts kids Harry, Hermione and Ron—they now must confront the first flush of adulthood which no magic wand ever can control. The message is: no matter the extraordinary powers they have, humans are still human and their first task is to master themselves if they must be of use to the rest of humanity. CINEMA recommends you watch this with teenagers and see what they think especially of this brainteaser of a message. – By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Amnesia Girl


CAST: John Lloyd Cruz, Toni Gonzaga; DIRECTOR: Cathy Garcia-Molina; PRODUCER/ DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema; RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes; GENRE: Romantic-Comedy; LOCATION: Manila

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


Nagkakilala sa isang dating/ match-making event ang ahenteng si Apollo (John Lloyd Cruz) at ang photographer na si Irene (Toni Gonzaga). Mabilis ang mga pangyayari at agad nahulog ang loob nila sa isa't-isa at nagkamabutihan. Yayayain ni Apollo si Irene na magpakasal ngunit sa araw ng kasal, habang palakad si Irene sa altar ay biglang uurong si Apollo at iiwan si Irene nang walang anumang pasabi. Makalipas ang ilang taon ay wala pa ring asawa si Apollo at tila hindi pa rin makalimutan si Irene at malabis ang pagsisisi sa ginawang pag-iwan dito. Sa muling pagku-krus ng landas nila ni Irene ay malalaman niyang may amnesia ito na bunga marahil ng natamong trauma sa pag-iwan niya dito sa araw ng kanilang kasal. Magiging daan para kay Apollo ang amnesia ni Irene upang makabawi sa mga nagawa nitong kasalanan at magpapanggap na bagong manliligaw ni Irene sa pangalang Paul. Lingid sa kanyang kaalaman, si Irene ay nagkukuwanri lamang na may amnesia upang siya ay sadyang gantihan at pahirapan. Saan kaya hahantong ang pagbabalat-kayo ng dalawang ito? Paano kung malaman ni Apollo na nagkukunwari lamang si Irene?

Nagawang bigyan ng bagong bihis ng pelikula ang tila gasgas nang tema ng amnesia sa mga kuwentong Pilipino lalo na sa pelikula. Ginamit ng My Amnesia Girl ang maraming makabagong pamamaraan ng pagkukuwento upang gawing kapana-panabik ang bawat susunod na eksena. Bagama't pawang napabilis ang mga rebelasyon sa manonood, naging epektibo pa rin ang kwento sa kabuuan at nabigyang kadahilanan naman kung bakit maraming sekreto sa kuwento ang hindi itinago sa manonood. Naging mas nakakakilig nga naman at nakaka-enganyong panoorin ang dalawang tauhan na tila naglolokohan at hindi nagkaka-alaman. Ang tunay na hiyas pa rin ng pelikula bukod sa husay ng direktor at manunulat ay ang walang kupas na kahusayan nila Cruz at Gonzaga. Napanatili nila ang kilig, katatawanan at maging ang tamang timpla ng drama kung kinakailangan. Tuloy ang mga manonood ay natatawa, kinikilig at lumuluha ng magkakasunod kundi man minsan ay magkasabay. Ang mga pangalawang tauhan ay pawang mahuhusay din. Salamat din at panandilaan tayong nakawala sa mga titulo ng popular na kanta bilang pamagat ng pelikula at may isang kuwentong bago sa panlasa ng Pilipinong manonood.

Ang kuwento ng My Amnesia Girl ay uminog sa kasinungalingan at pagbabalat-kayo. Bagama't nagawa ng pelikulang gawing katatawanan at nakaka-kilig ang makita ang dalawang pusong nagmamahalan habang naglolokohan ay marami pa rin itong aral na inihain. Una na dito ang hindi magandang naidudulot ng pagsisinungaling. Sa hinaba-haba ng takbo ng kuwento na uminog sa kasinungalingan, ipinakita pa rin na sa bandang huli'y katotohanan pa rin ang mananaig. Tunay ngang "ang pagsasabi ng tapat ay pagsasama ng maluwat". Matindi rin ang naging balik kay Irene ng kanyang matatawag na "maliit na kasinungalingan" at mapapatunayan na wala ngang kasinungalingang maliit at ito ay kasinungalingan pa rin bali-baligtarin man. Mas higit na nakababahala naman ang hindi gaanong naipaliwanag na dahilan kung bakit si Apollo ay bigla na lamang tumalikod at kumaripas sa araw mismo ng kasal. Sa napaka-habang pinagdaraanang proseso sa sakramentong ito ay hindi dapat naba-bale wala at tinatalikuran nang ganoon lang ang kasal nang walang matinding dahilan. Nagkulang marahil sa pagsasaliksik o sa paghahagod ng pelikula sa aspetong ito. Hindi rin husto ang naging paliwanagan ng dalawa sa kung ano nga ba ang naging mali sa kanilang relasyon. Kahanga-hanga naman sa isang banda ang ginawang pagpapatawad ng dalawang tauhan sa isa't-isa. Patunay na ang pusong nagmamahal ay laging handang magpatawad. At ang paglimot sa ginawang pagkakamali ng kapwa, bagama't mahirap, ay posible pa rin sa wagas na pag-ibig. Ang kaiga-igayang pagganap Gonzaga at Cruz, na sinusuportahan ng mabilis at katukso-tuksong dialogue ay hindi sapat upang maituring ka ganoong kahanga-hanga ang pelikula. Ito'y isa pa ring "feel good movie" sa kabila ng magaling na pagsasalarawan ng mensahe nito. At tulad ng lahat ng mga "feel good movies", ang panganib nito sa nanonood ay ang maaaring pagliligaw nito mula sa katotohanan. Bukod sa rito, ipinapakita na ang mga magsing-irog ay halos nagsama na bago ikasal, tila nagsasaad na ang pundasyon ng kanilang relasyon ay posibleng "good vibes" at "sexual compatibility" lamang. Ang isang dibdibang relasyon na magwawakas sa patawaran at kasalan ay hindi tapat sa katotohanan kung ito'y mistulang "formula" lamang ng pagkakamali-pagpapatawaran-at-ayos-na-ang-buto-buto! Kung nailabas sana ng pelikula mga ugat ng pagkakamali at pagpapatawad, maaaring nabigyan ng CINEMA ng mas mataas na "rating" ang Amnesia Girl. --By Rizalino R. Pinlac, Jr.

Megamind


CAST: Will Farell (Megamind), Brad Pitt (Metro Man), David Cross (Minion), Tina Fey (Roxanne Richi), Ben Stiller (Bernard) DIRECTOR: Tom McGrath, Careron Hood SCREENWRITER: Allan Schoolcraft, Brent Simons GENRE: Action & Adventure, Animation, Kids & Family, Comedy RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Studios

Technical: 4
Moral: 3 ½
CINEMA Rating: PG 13


"Megamind" is the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man," an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose. A supervillain without a superhero. He realizes that achieving his life's ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called "Titan," who promises to be bigger, better and stronger than Metro Man ever was. Pretty quickly Titan starts to think it's much more fun to be a villain than a good guy. Except Titan doesn't just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it. Now, Megamind must decide: can he defeat his own diabolical creation? Can the world's smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the evil genius become the unlikely hero of his own story? MRQE

Megamind is the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known. He finally conquers his nemesis, the hero Metro Man but finds his life pointless without a hero to fight.

Bored without a nemesis, Megamind uses his powers to create a new superhero. Unfortunately, when he decides on using a TV cameraman as his test subject he ends up creating Tighten, a would-be hero turned villain.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unstoppable


CAST: Denzel Washington (Frank), Chris Pine (Will), Rosario Dawson (Connie), Ethan Suplee (Dewey), Kevin Dunn (Inspector Werner) DIRECTOR: Tony Scott WRITER: Mark Bomback
GENRE: Action/Adventure, Drama, Suspense/Thriller RUNNING TIME: 98 min.

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 3
CINEMA Rating: R 14 (For viewers aged 14 and above)


Thinking he had brought the train to a full stop, the engineer (Ethan Suplee) dismounts. But to his surprise, the train pulls away, under full throttle. On another train, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) is training a new man on the job, Will Colson (Chris Pine). The half-a-mile long runaway train is carrying hazardous materials—according to the station yard master Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) who is in charge of dispatch and operations—and is speeding towards a head on collision with the train carrying Barnes and Colson. To make matters worse, rookie Colson and veteran Barnes are like oil and water, bickering for control as the precious minutes tick away. Besides sidetracking the collision they know they have to set their mutual disdain aside in order to stop the unstoppable locomotive from hurtling towards a populous district of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

It might not be a good idea for people suffering from hypertension to watch this movie. It is such a superb thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat—and your neck and shoulder muscles tense from beginning to end. Nearly all Hollywood movies these days come up with a chase scene, either for laughs or for thrills, and if it’s for thrills, the chase is usually between the good guys and the bad guys. But in Unstoppable, the chase is between people and a train! And as the sound effects and photography establish beyond doubt—particularly in those shots where the train rockets towards the audience over the camera placed on the tracks—the runaway train is a murderously heavy machine: having no soul, it couldn’t care less what it destroys.

It’s the people who provide the soul in the story. Barnes and Colson know that even with the right decisions, things could go wrong and thus spell their death. Nonetheless, in their race against time towards a possible tragic ending, they exchange glimpses of their family life which in turn enable them to bond and put their animosity aside. While the story and viewer attention is naturally focused on the problem posed by the runaway train, a softly voiced message is beneath it all: human beings thrive on the love of a family. Making Unstoppable more worthy of viewing is the fact that it is inspired by true events surrounding an incident on May 15, 2001 when an unmanned CSX train “ran away” and in two hours sped through 66 miles before it was stopped in a similar way as the movie shows. Perhaps young kids wouldn’t care to watch Unstoppable but CINEMA gives it a PG 13 rating just the same.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Due Date


CAST: Robert Downey Jr., (Peter Highman), Zach Galifianakis (Ethan Tremblay), Michelle Monaghan (Sarah Highman), Jamie Foxx (Darryl), Juliette Lewis (Heidi), Danny r. McBride (Lonnie) DIRECTOR: Todd GENRE: Comedy RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes LOCATION: USA DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. Pictures

Technical: 3
Moral: 3
CINEMA Rating: Audience Age 18 and above

High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.

Two different personalities: Ethan is wild, clumsy, bearded and disheveled while Peter is composed, handsome, dry and sarcastic.

Peter a strung-out guy who just wanted to get home to California to see the birth of his child while Ethan is an aspiring actor who is heading to California to pursue his dream in Hollywood.

Both are booted off a Los Angeles-bound flight, their only option of getting there is to rent a car and drive. Given that they cannot stand each other, chaos ensues.

Each one with different sensibilities is funny, some with dark humor and some slapstick. Peter and Ethan’s experience of shame and guilt and their acceptance lead them to become friends.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Again


CAST: Kristine Bell (Marni), Odette Yustman (Joanna), Victor Garber (Mark), Jamie Lee Curtis (Gail), Sigourney Weaver (Ramona), Jimmy Wolk (Will) DIRECTOR: Andy Fickman SCREENWRITER: Moe Jelline GENRE: Comedy RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes LOCATION: USA DISTRIBUTOR: Touchtone Pictures

Technical: 3
Moral: 4
CINEMA Ratings: PG 13 (For viewers aged 13 and below with parental guidance)

Successful PR pro Marni heads home for her older brother's wedding and discovers that he's marrying her high school arch nemesis, who's conveniently forgotten their problematic past. Then the bride's jet-setting aunt bursts in and Marni's not-so-jet-setting mom comes face to face with her own high school rival. The claws come out and old wounds are opened in this crazy comedy that proves that not all rivalries are forever. (MRQE)

A relevant movie showing the effects of bullying in school and how envy and jealousy can lead to violence. You Again proves that acknowledgment of one’s guilt over offense committed even many years back can heal the victim. The message of forgiveness though shown in comedy situation is effective.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Social Network


CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Max Narendra, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer Jr, Josh Pence DIRECTOR: David Fincher SCREENWRITER: Aaron Sorkin MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Trent Reznor GENRE: Drama RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes LOCATION: USA. DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Pictures

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 2.5
CINEMA RATING: R 14 (For viewers aged 14 and above)


The Social Network explores the moment at which Facebook, the most revolutionary social phenomena of the new century, was invented—through the warring perspectives of the super-smart young men who each claimed to be there at its inception. The result is a drama rife with both creation and destruction; one that audaciously avoids a singular point of view, but instead, by tracking dueling narratives, mirrors the clashing truths and constantly morphing social relationships that define our time. Drawn from multiple sources, the film captures the visceral thrill of the heady early days of a culture-changing phenomenon in the making—and the way it both pulled a group of young revolutionaries together and then split them apart. (MRQE)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Till My Heartaches End


Cast: Kim Chiu, Gerard Anderson, Mark Gil, Desiree del Valle, Matet de LDirector: Jose Javier-Reyes; Screenplay: Jose Javier-Reyes; Producer/ Distributor: Star Cinema; Running Time:100 minutes; Location: Manila; Genre: Romance, Drama

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3
Rating: For Viewers 14 years old and above


Mataas ang pangarap ng baristang si Paolo (Gerard Anderson) at makikilala niya sa pinapasukang coffee shop si Agnes (Kim Chiu), isang probinsiyanang nagpunta ng Maynila upang mag-review sa nursing board exams. Magkakalapit ang kanilang loob habang unti-unting inaabot ni Paolo ang kaniyang mga pangarap. Magiging matagumpay si Paolo sa bagong karera bilang real estate agent. Yun nga lang, sa pagbabago ng kanyang mundo ay hindi naman makasabay si Agnes na nagiging ugat ng madalas nilang pag-aaway. Habang nararating ni Paolo ang tugatog ng tagumpay ay unti-unti namang napapalayo si Agnes sa kanya. Dagdag pa dito ang pagnanais ni Agnes na sundan ang kanyang ina sa America. May patunguhan pa kaya ang pagmamahalan nila sa kabila ng marami nilang pinagdadaanan?

Isang tipikal na kuwentong pag-ibig ang Till My Heartaches End na sinubukang bigyan ng bagong-bihis sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng naiibang paraan ng pagkukuwento. Ang kuwentong pag-ibig ng dalawang pangunahing tauhan ay inilahad sa punto de vista ng mga taong nakapaligid sa kanila. Isang makabagong paraan ito ng pagkukuwento. Yun nga lang, halos hindi maramdaman ang damdamin ng dalawang bida. May pagka-malamlam ang pagganap ni Anderson at Chiu sa kabila ng kanilang sinseridad pero may kilig pa rin ang kanilang tambalan. Maayos ang kuha ng kamera at malinis naman ang daloy ng damdamin ngunit tila nakakainip paminsan-minsan ang paikot-ikot na problema ng dalawang bida. Marahil ay sinasadya naman ito sa kuwento. Epektibo ang mga pangalawang tauhan pero hindi naman gaanong nabigyan ng kuwento ang mga ito at naging halos palamuti na lang. Sa kabuuan ay nakaka-aliw at nakakakilig pa rin ang pelikula at ang pagsusubok nitong bigyan ng bagong timpla ang isang tila gasgas na kuwentong pag-ibig.

Ipinakita ng pelikula kung paanong ang dalawang magkaibang pagkatao ay maaring magkatagpo sa pag-ibig. Dumaan sa maraming unos ang pagmamahalan nila Paolo at Agnes dahil sa maraming komplikasyon sa kanilang paligid at sa pagkakaiba na rin ng kanilang pananaw sa buhay at pag-uugali. Totoong-totoo ang mga problemang ito at naging totoo rin ang pelikula sa pagsasabing mahirap talaga itong lutasin sa kabila ng pagnanais ng isa’t-isa na magparaya. Ngunit tunay na pag-ibig pa rin ang natatanging pag-asang pwedeng panghawakan sa bandang huli. Marami ring argumento ang pelikula na nararapat pag-isipan ng manonood ukol sa kung ano nga ba ang dapat mas bigyan ng halaga, pangarap o pag-ibig? Maaari bang magtagpo ang paghahangad ng yaman at pagpapayabong ng relasyon? Sa nagbabagong panahon at nagbabagong mundo, saan nga ba dapat ilugar ang puso? Sa ipinakita ng pelikula, sinasabi nitong pagmamahalan at relasyon pa rin ang pinakamalaga sa mundo ngunit hindi naman nito lantarang ipinakita ang nararapat na sakripisyong kaabikat nito. May mga ilan ding nakakababahalang mensahe ang pelikula tulad ng maaaring ipagsawalang-bahala na lang ang ilang maseselang isyu sa relasyon gaya ng pagsiping sa iba. Bagama’t wala namang ipinakitang maseselang eksena bukod sa ilang halikan, masasabi pa ring ang tema ng pelikula ay nararapat lamang sa manonood na may edad 14 pataas. --By Rizalino R. Pinlac, Jr.

Eat Pray Love


A review by Peter Malone

For the many readers who liked Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, they will know that the title refers to the twelve months that the writer took out of her life to take stock, enjoy and marvel at the world, and to come kind of self-forgiveness and acceptance. She spent four months in Rome (eat), four months in India (pray) and four months in Bali (love). For those who did not read the book, the film is an opportunity for them to accompany Liz on her geographical, psychological and spiritual journey.

What makes the film easier for many audiences is the fact that Julia Roberts plays Liz Gilbert. Twenty years ago, she was the glamorous Pretty Woman. Ten years ago, she was the feisty saviour of victims, Erin Brockovich. Now she offers a character for women in mid-life who want to take an initiative to discover their better selves. Julia Roberts, looks beautiful at all times, but harried at first, becoming more radiant and then, without make up, her older, even plainer, self. Though we are conscious that it is Julia Roberts we are watching, she does transform herself into Elisabeth Gilbert making the journey credible.

Though the film is long, the first episodes are rather hurried, too hurried to really grasp the personalities of her husband who loves her (Billy Crudup) but whom she divorces, of her younger, actor partner (James Franco). We get glimpses (and during the journey some flashbacks) of the relationships and why they failed. Viola Davis is solid as her best friend.

Then the film settles down to indulge us with the vistas of Rome and plenty of food, glorious food, Italian-style. With good friends and learning the difference between entertainment and real pleasure (Italians pointing out that this is a mistake that busy Americans make), Liz puts on the kilos with happy abandon. And, then she is in India.

At the ashram in India, Liz assumes the dress styles, the rituals, the manual work of service (yes, that is Julia Roberts scrubbing floors), the silences, the hospitality and the meditative space that leads her to a conclusion that ‘God is within me, as me’, a reflection worth some more reflection. The film captures the colours of India, even at a wedding, and should entice happy visitors to Italy to take a second look at their affluent world in comparison with the poverty and hardships of India.

There is a standout sequence in the Indian episode, a clip that could stand alone for use in seminars on alcoholism and self-improvement. The writing of the film takes off and is brought to dramatic power by the performance of Richard Jenkins.

What do you do when you have purged yourself of some spiritual ailments? Go to Bali, seek the help of a wise man and some alternative healing – and allow yourself to fall in love. That requires inner freedom, an acknowledgement of past failures but, most importantly, discovering self-forgiveness. In the beauty of Bali and with Javier Bardem on hand, it is, after many difficulties, possible.

The trouble with Eat Pray Love is that one wants to respond to the character and how she handles her journey rather than sit back and accept the film and Liz Gilbert. This is very much a First World story, the aftermath of New Age fashions and the discovery of Eastern mystic practices if not Eastern religion. Very few (very few) women can take the time, let alone afford the time and expenses for such a journey. This is the spiritual trek of a wealthy woman. While holiday and break are necessary, and Liz is introduced to some mysticism and asceticism in India, we ask, ‘to what purpose?’. By the time she has come to terms with herself and found love, we wonder what the moral bases of her life consist of, what is the nature of her integrity and the tension between some absolutes she has discovered and the relative importance of principles to be held on to or discarded.

Many men in the audience have found sharing this journey a tedious movie experience. Many women will be encouraged to follow Elizabeth Gilbert in her search in as much as their means allow them. Her story, book and film, is at least an attempt, in a pluralist world that has become even more pluralist, to attempt a search for life values.

CINEMA RATING: Technical: 3 Moral: 2.5 R 14

White House


Cast: Gabby Concepcion, Iza Calzado, Joem Gascon, Lovi Poe, Angel Jacob, Maricar Reyes; Director: Topel Lee; Screenplay: Lamberto Casas, Jr; Running Time:100 minutes; Location: Baguio; Genre: Horror

Technical Assessment: 2
Moral Assessment: 2.5
Rating: For Viewers 14 years old and above

Isang kilalang ispiritista si Jet Castillo (Gabby Concepcion) na aalukin ng trabaho ng isang malaking estasyon ng telebisyon na gagawa ng isang “horror reality show” kung saan ang mga kalahok ay ikukulong sa isang haunted house at ang makakatagal ng tatlong araw ay mag-uuwi ng isang milyon. Pinuntahan ni Jet ang sinasabing haunted house sa Baguio na kilala bilang white house. May mararamdaman siyang di kanais-nais- mayroong nagmumulto sa bahay na nagbabadya ng panganib dahil maaari itong makapanakit. Tatanggihan ni Jet ang trabaho at pagsasabihan ang executive producer (Maricar Reyes) na huwag nang ituloy ang programa. Ngunit magiging mapilit ito at itutuloy ang pagpapa-audition sa mga nais maging kalahok. Samantala, ang nag-iisang anak na babae ni Jet ay magkakaroon ng kakaibang karamdaman. Mapagtatanto niyang kinuha ng isang masamang espiritu ang kaluluwa ng kanyang anak. Dahil ang hinala niya ay isa itong espritu mula sa white house, kakailanganin niyang bumalik doon upang mabawi ang kaluluwa ng anak. At dahil wala siyang oras na dapat sayangin, masasabay ang paghahanap niya sa espiritu sa pagsho-shooting ng reality horror show. Dito masasaksihan nilang lahat ang malalagim na pambibiktima ng multong tinatawag na black lady (Iza Calzado).

Sinubok ng White House na magpakita ng kakaibang pelikulang katatakutan sa pamamagitan ng paghahalo ng tinatawag na reality TV show na usong-uso sa panahong ito. Nakakaintrigang panoorin ang pelikula dahil dito. Dagdag pa diyan na pinagbibidahan ito ng mga kilala at respetadong mga artista sa industriya. Ngunit sa simula pa lang ng pelikula ay pawang magiging malaking pagsisisi ang panonood nito. Karamihan sa mga sitwasyon na kinahantungan ng mga tauhan sa kuwento ay pawang bunga ng kani-kanilang katangahan at kabalintunaan. Lahat ng ninais ng pelikulang iparating sa manonood ay bigo. Bigo itong magtanim ng takot at misteryo sa manonood.. Nakabulatlat antimano ang anumang nais itago ng pelikula kung kaya’t wala na itong gulat sa bandang huli. Maganda sana ang mga special effects na mukha namang pinagbuhusan ng talino ngunit dahil palpak ang pagkukuwento, ay pumalpak nang todo ang pelikula sa kabuuan. Mababaw ang karakterisasyon ng mga tauhan na hindi man lamang pinalawig, tuloy, walang kakampihan o kakaawaan man lang ang manonood. Marami pa sanang pwedeng iganda ang pelikula ngunit sinayang nila ang pagkakataong ito. Marahil nagkulang sila oras sa paghahabol na maipalabas ito sa panahon ng Undas.

May ilang malilinaw na puntong nais sabihin ang White House sa kabila ng kakulangan nitong teknikal. Una ay ang dalisay na pagmamahal ng isang ama sa kanyang anak na gagawin ang lahat, susuungin ang panganib mailigtas lamang ang anak sa kapahamakan. Ganyan ang ipinakita sa katauhan ni Jet. Pangalawang ipinakita sa pelikula ang pagsasalarawan ng kung paanong ang mass media ay ginagamit at pinagkakakitaan ang kasawian ng iba. Ipinakita ring pinarurusahan ang sinumang naglalagay sa buhay ng tao sa alanganin maging ito man ay isang taong may mataas na katungkulan. Pangatlo ay pinaigting ng pelikula ang kapangyarihan ng kabutihan laban sa kasamaan. Naging matagumpay man si ‘black lady” sa simula ay hindi pa rin ito nanaig sa bandang huli. Yun nga lang, marami nang buhay ang nasayang at nawala nang ganun-ganun na lamang. May mangilan-ngilan lamang tanong at nakakabahala sa kuwento. Tulad halimbawa ng hindi paglilinaw kung bakit ganoon na lamang kasama ang tinaguriang “black lady”. Saan nanggagaling ang kanyang poot at galit? Tila yata hindi ito masyadong napalawig sa pelikula. Pinalabas na sadya lamang siyang masama at may makitid na pag-iisip. O marahil, may diprensiya siya sa pag-iisip? Maging yun ay hindi malinaw. Hindi rin maganda ang mga ipinakitang larawan ng kababaihan sa pelikula. Ang isa ay kaladkarin, ang isa nama’y ubod ng hina, at ang isa nama’y labis ang kasamaan. Ang karamihan sa mga tauhan sa pelikula ay isteryotipikal. Ang lalaking bida naman ay tila lumalabas na bayani at tagapag-sagip. Hindi rin gaanong ipinakita ang kalakasan ng pagdarasal sa pelikula dahil hinayaan nitong maraming buhay ang mawala. Para bang walang silbi ang mga dasal at orasyon laban sa masamang espiritu. Hindi napalawig ang kapangyarihang taglay ng panalangin sa kabuuan ng pelikula. May mga ilang eksesan pang nakababahala tulad ng lantarang pagtatalik sa labas ng kasal isinasapubliko pa sa kamera, at paggamit ng ipinagbabawal na gamot na pinalabas na katawa-tawang gawain sa halip na ipakitang ito ay masama. --By Rizalino R. Pinlac, Jr.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life as we know it


CAST: Katherine Heigle, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks, Hayes MacArthur, Jean Smart, Melissa McCarthy, Majandra Delfino, Faizon Love, Will Sasso. DIRECTOR: Greg Berlanti. WRITERS: Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson GENRE: Comedy-Drama. RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes. LOCATION: United States. DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros.

CBCP-CINEMA Ratings: TECHNICAL: 3 MORAL: 2.5
R 14 (For viewers aged 14 and above)


Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is an up-and-coming caterer and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is an aspiring network sports director. After a disastrous first (blind) date arranged by their best friends Peter and Alison Novack (Hayes MacArthur and Christina Hendricks) the only thing they have in common in their dislike for each other and their love for their goddaughter Sophie, the child of Peter and Alison. When Sophie’s parents die in a car accident, Holly and Messer find themselves the unwilling surrogate parents as stated in the Novacks’ will. Messer and Holly are oil and water forced to live under the same roof in raising a child not their own. When they realize Sophie is an orphan and has nobody else in the world, they agree to put aside their differences. Parenting is done in earnest as Holly and Messer juggle career ambitions and competing social calendars to honor their best friends’ wish. (Warner Bros.)

Fans of Katherine Heigl will love this movie—besides being easy on the eyes, Heigl has good comic timing, which explains why she is so much in demand for rom-coms. It’s good to remember that Life As We Know It is a romantic comedy, a genre that may include the facts of life and living but which also may capitalize on these facts as props to justify the improbable plot. The most factual thing about this movie is its portrayal of details where it concerns the experience of sharing a home with a baby: the sleepless nights, poop-and-vomit management, feeding time tantrums, and god-knows-what-other tragedies that can be caused by an unattended toddler.

Like most rom-coms, Life As We Know It comes across as formulaic and in many instances may feel like an expanded television 30-minuter; but unlike most rom-coms, it is premised on love for others, concern for the helpless, trust and loyalty among friends, and goodwill of neighbors. Points for reflection are: 1) having to care for a baby when one is not prepared for it, and 2) what a shared experience of raising an orphan can do to erstwhile enemies. While being surrogate parents to a toddler helps them mature as persons, proximity accelerates physical intimacy between the pair, leading them to skip courtship—which is what happens in so many Hollywood movies, when boy and girl bed even before they get to know each other’s name. Despite the laughs and the artifice, Life As We Know It may still move you to be involved—especially as Sophie begins to call her surrogate mother “mama”—to be concerned about the future of so many Sophies in our midst.--Teresa R. Tunay

The Town


CAST: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper. DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck. SCREENPLAY: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard, based on the novel “Prince of Thieves” by Chuck Hogan. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Elswit. MUSIC: David Buckley, Harry Gregson-Williams. GENRE: Drama-thriller. RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes. LOCATION: United States. DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros.

CBCP-CINEMA ratings: TECHNICAL: 3.5 MORAL: 2.5 R 18 (Restricted to viewers aged 18 and above)

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But, that all changes on the gang's latest job, when they briefly take a hostage, bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall). They let her go unharmed, but sometime later she meets an unassuming and rather charming man named Doug... not realizing that he is the same man who only days earlier had terrorized her. The instant attraction between them gradually turns into a passionate romance that threatens to take them both down a dangerous, and potentially deadly, path. (Warner Bros).

Director and co-writer Affleck's screen version of Chuck Hogan's 2004 novel "Prince of Thieves" is meant to be a serious film , yet it is able to cater to the crowd that finds thrills in car chases and bloody bank heists. The story is clear and is enhanced by good direction and tight editing. Cinematography is well-conceived, imbuing a sense of urgency and tension to high- action footage and an intimate feel to close ups that capture the depth of each character’s portrayal. Casting couldn’t have been better, as proven by the flawless acting of the lead characters. Affleck has done a good directing job in that he is able to pull together otherwise ordinary elements into a fresh, cohesive whole.

Can a man commit crimes with impunity and still love anyone else but himself? Can a lifetime of violence be reversed by an uttered intention to change? It seems a tribute to the good in man that one who has been brought up in violence and crime—inheriting his bank-robbing “career” from his father as part of a warped but accepted cultural tradition, much like in the olden days when fathers and grandfathers molded their progeny to their trade—still has a modicum of human goodness in him to resolve to turn his back on evil and take the road to decency. But the will to change is tested and tried through time. There are people who have been killed, abused, betrayed and denied—may the offender simply dispose of them in the new world he wants to create? In this film, time and the future are left to the viewer. Nonetheless, The Town gains merits in painfully trying to depict the effect of the “sins of our fathers” on us and in giving hope to those who yearn for a better world. A sensitive and morally weighty film, but its theme won’t interest young teens, and its well-intended message may be missed, if not misconstrued, by immature viewers.-By Teresa R. Tunay

Monday, October 18, 2010

Petrang Kabayo



Cast: Vice Ganda, Eugene Domingo, Luis Manzano, Candy Pangilinan, Gloria Romero, John Arcilla; Director: Wenn Deramas; Screenplay: Mel-Mendoza Del-Rosario ; Producer-Distributor: Viva Films; Running Time:120 minutes; Location: Manila; Genre: Comedy

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


Nakaranas ng malabis na kalupitan si Peter (Vice Ganda) sa kamay ng kanyang ama (John Arcilla) nung siya’y bata pa.Dahilan upang siya’y maglayas. Mabuti na lamang at natagpuan siya ng isang haciendera (Eugene Domingo) na kinupkop siya at itinuring na sariling anak. Subalit lalaking malupit si Peter sa mga tao man o hayop lalo na sa mga kabayo dahil na rin sa dinanas niyang hirap sa kanyang ama na ginawa siyang panghalili sa kabayo sa kalesa nito. Nang mamatay ang itinuring na ina at ipinamana sa kanya ang hacienda, lalong naging malupit si Peter sa mga tauhan nila. Dahil sa malabis na kalupitang ito ni Peter sa mga hayop ay isusumpa siya ng diyosa ng mga kabayo na sa tuwing siya ay magagalit o magmamalupit sa hayop man o tao ay magiging isang kabayo siya kung kaya’t siya'y magiging si Petrang Kabayo. Magawa kaya ni Peter na magbago dala ng sumpang ito?

Bagama’t hindi maiiwasang maihambing ang Petrang Kabayo na ito sa orihinal na bersyon ni Roderick Paulate noon, masasabi namang nagawa ng pelikulang punuan ang inaasahan ng manonood na maaliw. Salamat sa napakahusay na pagganap ni Ganda bilang Petrang Kabayo at nagawa nitong palutangin ang katatawanan sa kabila ng mangilan-ngilang kabagalan ng pelikula sa pagkukuwento. Dahil kay Ganda, nabigyang buhay ang kabuuan ng tauhan at kuwento ni Petrang Kabayo. Pawang mahuhusay din naman ang kanyang mga kasamang tauhan ngunit dahil siya ang bida at ito ang kauna-unahan niyang pagbibida sa pelikula, ay malaki ang inaasahan sa kanya. Nagampanan naman niya ng buong husay ito at walang humpay sa kakatawa ang mga manonood. Ang sunod na lamang sigurong aabangan ay kung makaya pa kaya niyang masundan o mahigitan ang nagawa niya sa Petrang Kabayo. Hindi kaya maglaon ay maumay rin ang manonood sa kanya at sa kanyang mga patawa?

Maganda ang pangunahing mensahe ng pelikula ukol sa pakikipag-kapwa tao at pakikitungo sa iba pang nilalang ng Diyos tulad ng hayop, na sa pelikula ay naka-sentro sa kabayo. Ang hayop, tulad ng tao ay dapat ding inaaruga, pinagmamalasakitan at binubusog ng pagmamahal. Inakala ni Peter sa simula na makatarungan ang kanyang pagiging malupit , gawa ng mga naranasan niyang kalupitan mula sa ama, ngunit nagkamali siya at natauhan din naman sa bandang huli na hindi ito nararapat. Napagtanto din niyang sa kabila ng lahat ng kalupitan at kasamaang dinanas sa ama ay pawang kabutihan naman ang ginawa sa kanya ng nag-ampon sa kanya. Matagal bago naghilom ang sugat ni Peter na siya sigurong magiging tanong ng mga manonood. Una, bakit ang tagal pa rin naalis ng poot sa kanyang puso gayong nagkaroon na siya ng magandang buhay? Pangalawa, kinakailangan pa bang magkasakit ang isang tao upang siya ay magbago? Pangatlo, bakit naging mahirap kay Peter na maging mabuti sa mga taong hindi naman naging malupit sa kanya? May ilan pa ring diskriminasyon sa pelikula sa mga itinuturing na pangit at maging sa mga bakla bagama’t ito ang pangunahing tauhan. Hindi rin naging malinaw kung paanong si Peter ay lumaking bakla. Dahil nga ba ito sa pagmamalupit ng kanyang ama? Bunga ng impluwensiya? Sinasabi bang ito ay nangyayari na lamang at hindi ginugusto ninuman? (O ginawa ba lamang bakla ang bida dahil mas nakakatawa ito kaysa kung ang gaganap na Peter ay si Cesar Montano, halimbawa, o kahit si Vhong Navarro?) Hindi naman ito pinalawig ng pelikula pero kahanga-hanga pa rin ang ipinapahiwatig nitong mensahe ukol sa pantay-pantay na pagtingin sa tao: mayaman man o mahirap, maganda man o pangit, ano pa man ang kasarian. –Ni RizalinoR. Pinlac, Jr.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps


CAST: Michael Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon. DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone. GENRE: Drama. WRITERS: Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff, based on characters created by Stanley Weiser and Stone. RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes. LOCATION: United States. PRODUCTION: 20th Century-Fox

CINEMA Ratings: TECHNICAL: 3 MORAL: 3 For viewers 14 and above.

Imprisoned for stuffing his pockets while bankrupting his firm, Wall Street trader Gordon “Greed is Good” Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released from behind bars in 2001. Seven years later, he’s the author of “Is Greed Good?” and is back in the limelight as a lecturer to the business community. In one of his lectures promoting his book, he meets up and coming trader Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) who catches his attention only when he introduces himself as being in love with Gekko’s daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan). Winnie hasn’t spoken to her father for years since the death of her brother which he blames on him. Gekko sees in the young man a way to reconcile with his daughter. Winnie remains distrustful, but Jake is convinced of Gekko’s repentance and sincere concern for Winnie’s future.

Gordon Gekko is definitely the most colorful character in the movie, played with convincing abandon by Douglas. Indeed, the most interesting footages in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps are those with Douglas in them. Frank Langella also plays a brief but memorable role as Jake’s mentor Louis Zabel who finds an instant solution to the dire financial state he is in. LeBeouf perhaps looks too wholesome to be credible as an ambitious young man—there’s not enough glimmer of covetousness in his pretty boy looks, but that’s more casting’s fault than his. Mulligan does her role in earnest, and while she’s crying half of the time, she does her best to project the anguish and firmness of her character. Despite a somewhat routine dialogue, it’s a good movie, actually—fast paced, informative in a way, appeals to both intelligence and emotions, and provides a twist towards the end that shifts the story’s center to an unexpected axis.

Not only is Gordon Gekko the most colorful character in this movie; he is also its moral center. He is the repentant sinner upon his release from federal prison, a remorseful father who has realized what he has missed in those long years, but when an opportunity presents itself, he drools and backslides like any other money-monger whose motto is “In Greed We Trust”. How does Gordon Gekko end up? We’re not about to spoil your fun—suffice it to say that the conclusion is a home run for pro-lifers.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole



Technical: 3.5
Moral: 3
Rating: PG 13 (Aged 13 and below with parental guidance).

Brothers Soren and Kludd may look the same outside but inside these barn owlets are worlds apart. Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess) won’t get tired of the bedtime story their father tells about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a noble band of warriors who vanquished the evil army named the “Pure Ones”. For Kludd (voiced by Ryan Kwanten), however, such are silly stories only daydreamers like his brother could buy.
Sneaking out of the family nest one night to try their wings at “flying”, barn owlets Soren and Kludd tumble off a branch to the ground. But before they are captured by a hungry wild boar, they are swooped away in the talons of huge mean-looking owls. Their captors turn out to be the minions of the Pure Ones who run an “orphanage”—in reality a training camp that brainwashes abducted owlets to serve their wicked purposes.

Aware of their captors’ nefarious activities to annihilate the owls of the “lesser species” (meaning those outside of the Pure Ones’ dominion) but deceived by the promises of their evil Queen Nyra (voiced by Helen Mirren), Kludd accepts to be a future soldier while Soren is sent to the camp’s slave labor area when he defends a tiny elf owl Gylfie (voiced by Emily Barclay). Soren and Gylfie think the owldom must be warned of the Pure Ones’plan to wipe them out, but who will escape the camp to do it? An old warrior from the ranks of the Pure Ones, Grimble (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) trains the young pair to fly so that they may one day escape the camp and warn the unsuspecting owls.

Directed by Zack Snyder and brought to the screen by Animal Logic, the same studio that made that penguin movie, Happy Feet, this owl film is definitely something worth hooting about. It’s a visual treat, right from the start. The animators certainly created a magical world—forest, sea, sky—that one could only wish to be real in its majesty and beauty.

This is one time you’ll forget about those plastic 3D glasses you’re wearing as you note the fine details, colors and textures that the film is never short of: the subtle lighting shifts on the owls’ feathers ruffling in the breeze, on the scenic backdrops of sea or storm, on Soren’s flight through a nasty funnel cloud, or on the clouds made translucent by their gliding across the sun. Such gorgeous photo-realism takes Legend of the Guardians several notches higher than even the better animation films so far made, especially with the impressive rendering of the owls’ eyes.

From childhood we know that owls, with their wide, intelligent looking eyes, have traditionally symbolized wisdom, but being nocturnal, they can hardly be scrutinized at the zoos, so we have never really seen how they move their eyes. But now, Legend of the Guardians gives us owls with eyes as expressive as humans’. We know a bit about CGI and how difficult artists find it to capture the eyes in animation, but here we have owls’ eyes so realistically conveying human emotions about equally human concerns, like their family’s future or vanquishing evil, that we could come to think they’re not really owls, much less animated owls, but actually human beings in owls’ clothing!

Preposterous though that may sound, Legend of the Guardians depicts laudable ideals and most assuredly delivers a message on the human condition. Perhaps the story and the script are rather familiar to adults, but to preteens in search of heroes a tale of bravery like this would be uplifting, inspiring us to self-confidently keep our head and heart in the right place in the face of adversity.

The movie is definitely worth a peek for viewers of all ages, but please keep the younger children (below primary school age) and nervous 10-year olds out of the audience. Although it’s a worthy story about the quest toward self-awareness, the dark story is generously spiked with intense situations, and startling fierce encounters between good and bad owls—the stuff nightmares are made of.

You’d never think that owls would be concerned with heroism, honor, adventure, peace, legends, power, family, orphans and class distinction but Legend of the Guardians says they are, indeed. Well, as we have said, these owls to us feel like humans. The only thing that will probably jolt you out of this “humanowled” world is the warriors’ intricately crafted combat masks. Appreciating the craftsmanship you’d think, “Gee, how could owls make such exquisite metal masks?” Then you’ll realize: it’s only a movie! --By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS