Friday, January 28, 2011

The Green Hornet

CAST: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz; Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, Tom Wilkinson, Edward Furlong, Chad Coleman, Robert Clotworthy; DIRECTOR: Michael Gondry; WRITER: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Fran Striker, George W. Trendle; SCREENPLAY: Seth Rogen; PRODUCER / DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Pictures; GENRE: Action/ Adventure; RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above

Having to deal with the loss of his mother at a young age and with a father (who owns a journalism empire who doesn’t seem to have time for him), Britt Reid (Seth Rogers) grows up into becoming an irresponsible, directionless man who parties all night with alcohol and different women. But when his father suddenly dies mysteriously because of a bee sting, Britt finds himself overwhelmed inheriting the family newspaper business and living up to his father’s legacy, thus, turning him all the more into a useless bum. Then he finds rescue with his father’s brilliant mechanic Kato (Jay Chou) who knows martial arts as well. After the two have a night of encounter with criminals, Britt gets an idea of how they could further help resolve criminality in their area by becoming masked vigilantes themselves. Their actions later blow up into proportions that attract the attention of hard core underworld boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Watz).

The Green Hornet is a deconstruction of the usual superhero audiences see on screen. This time around, the main superhero seems to be less competent and hardly dependent on a sidekick that he takes for granted. Britt Reid as the Green Hornet is just as flawed and weak as any other man. This is quite an interesting premise to begin a story with, however, something is still missing in the whole gamut of exploring the dynamics of hero/anti-hero characters in the film. Although there are some hilarious and comic moments in the movie, some parts still lack the supposed wit it tries to convey. Rogers is solid as the Green Hornet while Chou still needs a bit of a push to register strong screen presence. Their contrasting characteristics works well as a tandem at times, but sometimes, it falls flat. Camera works, editing and direction are imaginative but some fight and chase scenes seem to lack coherence. As a whole, The Green Hornet still delivers a certain level of entertainment value and does not really disappoint, only that it can still do better than what it is.

What do audiences really get out of an anti-stereotypical super hero? Well, it makes them realize and appreciate even more that human weakness can possibly be turned into strength. Although his past is not a justification, Reid’s character could well be a wake-up call to parents to nurture their children even more. Time and again, the family remains to be most crucial in bringing up useful citizens of the land. The Green Hornet says it is never too late for anyone to start over. However, looking at the film closely, such intention is not quite coherent with its plotlines as a whole. Reid wants the Green Hornet and his sidekick to be heroes while appearing as villains but they kill people (although yes, criminals) without remorse. They took the law in their own hands through executing criminals via extra-judicial means. There’s no way that this can ever be right. This might also be rooted in the fact that Reid’s intention of becoming a vigilante-hero is fuelled by his anger towards his father. Although such intention is later on purified, still, their end does not justify their means. How could Green Hornet and his sidekick be really heroes if they cause unnecessary destruction, thus, hurting and killing lives in the process? The way Reid manipulated the press for his own agenda is also disturbing. Some scenes of suggestive sex, violence and gore, although a necessity to portray the underworld, might leave a lasting impression on the vulnerable minds of a young audience, so CINEMA finds the movie unfit for viewers below 14 years old.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


CAST: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr, Richard Kind, Cécile De France, Lyndsey Marshal, Mylène Jampanoï, Steve Schirripa, Marthe Keller, Niamh Cusack; DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood; WRITER: Peter Morgan; GENRE: Suspense/Thriller; RUNNING TIME: 129 min.

Technical: 4
Moral: 3
Rating: V 14 (14 years old and above)

An illness in the childhood of George Lonegan (Matt Damon) gave him the ability to communicate with the recently departed. Becoming a celebrated psychic, he realizes he cannot ever enjoy a normal life if it is spent connecting with the dead. He hides from the public by working in a warehouse in San Francisco, but somehow is found by people needing to communicate with their dear departed or to simply understand death. One of them is a French television reporter Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) who, on a holiday with her producer-lover (Thierry Neuvic), goes through a near-death experience that changes her life. Another is a widower who is distraught over his wife’s sudden death. Then there is also a young boy Marcus (Frankie McLaren) who cannot get over losing his beloved twin brother Jason (George McLaren). It seems George cannot escape his mysterious ability which people say is a gift but which he sees as a curse.

If you’ve ever seen a perfectly braided hairdo, you will note that its beauty depends on balance, as the hair is divided into three equal parts which are made to criss-cross over one another to form a perfect braid. That is the image Hereafter evokes, with its three separate tales involving death somehow skillfully woven until they are revealed to be part of one whole story that bears a powerful message about death. The master weaver here is Clint Eastwood, getting even better as a director at age 80. The plot is seamless and the treatment of the subject of communicating with the dead handled with discretion, prudence, and—again—balance. No mushiness, no fear-inducing special effects, no notions that make death larger than life while plumbing the depths of feelings and thoughts that haunt people who have been confronted with death. Nothing more, or less, may be asked of Damon’s acting; watching him the viewer does not see the actor but the character, a gifted man who refuses to buckle under the weight of his gift. Technically at least, Hereafter deserves an Oscar.

The three main characters consulting the psychic do not know one another. They are separated by space, their circumstances in life cocoon them from the rest of the world, and yet their individual world share a gloom that every man in their situation must inevitably face. It is a gloom that a person must learn to grapple with by himself to understand and accept, but in time the gloom gives way to light. Hereafter is a film that can make you think about your own mortality, even as you try to understand other people’s loss by it. There is something to be learned, too, from the psychic’s attitude towards his unusual ability. In the film, the psychic’s feet are firmly anchored to the ground—while he cannot question that he has an unusual ability, he is not awed by it nor overwhelmed by people adulation of him. Hereafter presents a sensible view that may be good for viewers to adopt, particularly in our culture where such abilities are all too quickly accepted as “powers” and “gifts” that put the psychic several notches above the average man.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tourist

CAST: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell,Timothy Dalton, Ralf Moeller, Raoul Bova, Steven Berkoff,Clément Sibony, Igor Jijikine; DIRECTOR: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; WRITER: Julian Fellowes, Christopher McQuarrie, Jeffrey Nachmanoff; GENRE: Drama, Suspense/Thriller; RUNNING TIME: 103 min.

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: Age 14 and above

Pursued by Scotland Yard, Englishman Alexander Pearce is in hiding, having stolen 740 million dollars from an English gangster in the past. Interpol and a few Italian cops on the corrupt side are tailing Pearce’s girlfriend Elise Ward (Angelina Jolie) in the hope of pinning the fraudster down. Pearce sends Elise a note instructing her to take a train to Venice, pick up a passenger who matches his weight and height proportions, and take the stranger with her to her hotel room to fool the agents into thinking he is Pearce after changing his face through plastic surgery. Once the decoy is arrested, Pearce and Elise can escape their pursuers to be together. On the train, Elise finds and picks up Frank Tupello (Johnny Depp), an American math teacher from Wisconsin holidaying in Europe to nurse a broken heart, who easily falls into the trap. Elise engages Frank in a passionate kiss by the window, knowing she is the under constant surveillance by the agents, thus setting off a chase to get the wrong guy. Elise leaves the sleeping Frank the following morning, but Frank, bewitched by Elise, is determined to find her while running for his dear life.

The Tourist is the kind of movie you may want to see twice to get right, yet two viewings won’t guarantee you certainty that you indeed have it right. Credit that to the implausible plot and the great acting especially of Depp and Jolie that will have the viewer believing the story is really what it seems. The major twist towards the end might make you come to your own conclusions, but not quite so. Hold it, put your thinking mechanism on auto pilot, and just enjoy the suspenseful fluff. Take the train ride for free; explore the side streets and have a splash on the canals of Venice in a boat with an elegant Jolie at the wheel; check in at the plush Danieli (and note how Americans are an amusement on that part of the globe); dare to chase the barefooted Depp traipsing the rooftops in his pajamas—after all The Tourist is technically superb, from the cinematography to costumes. (Yes, drool over la Jolie’s gowns which she displays to best advantage as she sashays through life as though the world’s admiration is her birth right. It might as well be). It’s an entertaining remake of a 2005 French movie, Anthony Zimmer, with more comic touches added by the new writers Florian Henckel von Donnersmark andChristopher Macquarrie. If at the end you feel you’ve been had, blame the clever direction of von Donnersmark who won the Oscar and universal fame for his first feature film The Lives of Others. The Tourist is but his second; imagine what the next would be.

The theme, the war among thugs and fraudsters killing and getting killed over money may be serious, but because of its light treatment it might not be worthwhile to discuss the morality, immorality or amorality the movie displays. Suffice it to say that stealing is bad, even if it’s stealing from a bad man; killing is bad, even if you’re killing your inefficient employee. And what of returning the money stolen? Is that good? Reality check: why would a thief do that? But it happens in The Tourist. Nobody says it’s a true story.—By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Little Fockers

CAST: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro; Jessica Alba; DIRECTOR: Paul Weitz; SCREENPLAY: John Hamburg, Larry Stuckey; PRODUCER: Jane Rosenthal, Robert de Niro, Jay Roach, John Hamburg; EDITING: Greg Hayden, Leslie Jones; MUSIC: Stephen Trask; GENRE: Comedy; DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures; LOCATION: Chicago; RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: V14 (For viewers 14 and above)

Little Fockers is the 3rd franchise of the Meet the Parents series. This time Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and wife Pam (Teri Polo) are proud parents of 5-year-old twins Sam and Henry. Apparently, patriarch father-in-law Jack Brynes (Robert De Niro) is having some health issues and must pass on the headship of the family to a successor. And he chooses Greg to be the “Godfocker”. The rest of the movie is a series of skits wherein Greg tries to authenticate his upcoming role and Jack tries to prove his theory that Greg is having an affair with a sexy pharmaceutical representative Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba).

Little Fockers is a pathetic and lame attempt to cash in on a film that made some money when it first came out. The movie is clean and acceptable technically but fails miserably on the creative side. The story is boring, corny and flat. The characters are caricatures matching the over the top performances. And because of a full pack cast, the attempt to provide a storyline for everyone further confused the story. The script and plot are almost nonsense and characters are placed in the scene merely to create a joke that unfortunately is not even funny. Apparently, the writers loved the “Godfocker” joke so much that they made sure it was repeated constantly throughout the movie.

This 3rd installment of the movie franchise repeats the message in the very first movie: in-law problems are caused by prejudice, self-centeredness and the refusal to open up and reach out. In-laws are important in the family as they provide support and assistance as proven by Greg saving Jack’s life at the end of the movie. The imperative joke about father and son-in-law (or daughter and mother-in-law) clashing with each other to provide the comical situation is actually a dangerous stereotyping of the relationship because people may begin to be wary even before getting to know their would be in-laws. This movie once again reiterates how much happier a home can be when in-laws get along and actually love and trust each other.

The pro-family message is passable, but the sex jokes, toilet humor, the nonsensical turkey carving mishap and other failed attempt to create comedy makes the film inappropriate for young audiences. Perhaps it would make for adult entertainment, as demonstrated during a full-house Sunday night showing at a Makati theater where the audience lapped up the jokes. And you’ve got to give it to De Niro and Hoffman—it takes some guts for respectable actors to appear for the third time in a comedy series that’s wearing thin.—By Pie Mabanta

Friday, January 7, 2011


CAST: Jennilyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo (Alberto), Isabel Oli (Carmen) Sid Lucero (carding), Yul Servo (Vicente), Philip Salvador (don enrique), Eula Valdez (dona adela); Dolphy (Hesus). DIRECTOR: Alberto P. Martinez. PRODUCER: TV5 and Cinemabuhay. STORY: Manny Pangilinan.

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: R 18

Taong 1920, darating mula sa Nuweba York and kaakit-akit na dalagang si Rosario (Jennylyn Mercado) upang magbakasyon sa kanilang hacienda. Dahil sa lubhang makabago niyang mga gawi, madali siyang lulutang sa mga pagtitipon, bagay na kanyang ikagagalak ngunit ikababahala naman ng kanyang amang si Don Enrique (Philip Salvador). Mapusok si Rosario at hindi itatago ang kanyang nasa kay Vicente (Yul Servo), katiwala ng kanyang ama sa kanilang pataniman ng tabako na mapapa-ibig naman ng dalaga. Hindi maglalaon, matutuklasan ni Don Enrique ang bawal na pag-ibig, palalayasin ang binugbog na binata at ikukulong sa kumbento si Rosario. Makakatakas naman si Rosario at magtataanan sila ni Vicente patungong Maynila. Sapagkat mahusay sa gawain at masipag si Vicente, giginhawa naman ang buhay nila at ng kanilang anak sa Maynila ngunit magkakasakit si Vicente ng tuberkulosis at titigil ito sa trabaho, bagay na magiging dahilan upang si Rosario ay maghanap ng trabaho. Papatol si Rosario sa masugid niyang mangliligaw na makikilala niya sa kanyang pinapasukang opisina, si Alberto (Dennis Trillo). Mahuhuli ni Vicente ang kapalaluan ng dalawa, at ihahabla nito ang asawa at ang kanyang kalaguyo sa hukuman. Mapapatunayang nagkasala si Rosario’t si Alberto at hahatulang itapon sa Hongkong kung saan iluluwal ni Rosario ang anak na lalaking si Hesus. Pagbabalik ng mag-anak sa Pilipinas, lalayasan naman ni Alberto ang mag-ina sa paghihinalang nakikiapid si Rosario kay Carding (Sid Lucero), pamangkin ng may-ari ng bahay na kanilang tinutuluyan. Titiisin ni Rosario ang hirap ng buhay, tatanggap ng labada at palantsahin upang maitaguyod ang anak, ngunit sadyang magiging malupit sa mag-ina ang tadhana.

Ang Rosario ay base sa tunay na pangyayari ayon sa Producer nitong si Manny Pangilinan, at isinagawa naman sa pelikula sa pagdidirihe ng kilalang aktor na si Albert Martinez bilang kanyang unang proyekto bilang direktor. Ang paglalahad ng kuwento ng karanasan ni Rosario ay nagmumula sa pananaw ng kanyang anak na si Hesus (Dolphy), na siyang magbubukas at magsasara ng pelikula. Hindi lamang ginastusan kundi pinaghirapan ding sadya ang Rosario, at ito’y mababakas sa maayos na pagsasalarawan ng panahong 1920.

Hindi madaling gumawa ng period movie pagkat mahirap maghanap ng mga elementong bubuo ng mga production sets upang higit na maging tapat sa panahon at kapani-paniwala ang pelikula. Marahil madaling tumahi ng mga costumes o damit para magmukhang “unang panahon” ang pelikula; gayon din sa make-up at ayos ng buhok, pati na ng mga ekstra, basta’t masusing sinaliksik ito at hindi ginawang tantiya-tantiya o hula-hula lamang. Subali’t ang paghahanap ng mga bahay, pier at barkong luma, halimbawa, ay kailangang pagpawisan; tulad din ng pag-iipon ng sapat na mga sasakyang sinauna na magagara pa at tumatakbo nang maayos upang ipakita ang karangyaan ng buhay-hacienda ng dalagang si Rosario. (Kung sabagay halos wala nang hindi magagawa sa tulong ng Computer Generated Imagery o CGI ngayon.) Ang mumunting mga bagay na ito ay may kani-kanyang ambag tungo sa ikabubuo at ikagaganda ng pelikula. Para madala ng pelikula ang manunood sa nakaraan, hindi siya dapat makasulyap man lang ng kahit anong makabago o magpapaalala sa kanya sa kasalukuyan. (May nasilip ba kayong kotseng Toyota, o plantsang de-koryente, o MacDonald’s noong sa Maynila na naninirahan sila Rosario?)

May mga bagay din naman sa Rosario na nakakabawas sa pagiging buo ng pelikula, tulad halimbawa ng labis na liwanag sa mga mukha ng artista magkaminsan na nakakahadlang sa pagkakaroon ng akmang “mood” ng eksena. O kaya’y ang pag-iiba-iba ng hugis ng kilay ng mga babaeng artista—hindi “consistent” ang guhit, ika nga, na nagpapahiwatig na hindi sanay ang make-up artist sa pagpinta ng make-up noong panahong iyon. Dapat sana’y may giya silang larawan ng mukhang gusto nilang palabasin, at tularan iyon hangga’t kinakailangan ang ganoong anyo. Maaari namang pagpikitan na lang ng mata ang mga kapintasang iyon lalo na’t kung susukatin mo ang katapatan ng pagganap ng mga pangunahing aktor.

Mahusay na ginampanan nila Servo, Trillo at Lucero ang kani-kaniyang papel—pinangibabaw nila ang kani-kanyang karakter, kaya’t “buhay” ang mga ito. Sa ma-dramang papel naman ni Rosario ay makikitang nagsisimula nang mamukadkad ang talino sa pag-arte ni Mercado. Bagama’t ang kanyang karakter ay isang babaeng may sariling pag-iisip noong mga panahong hindi ito tanggap ng lipunan, nakuha ni Mercado na manulay sa pagitan ng pagiging malaya at pagiging api. May sapat na karakter ang mukha at kilos ni Mercado upang siya ay maging kapani-paniwala bilang isang biktima man o isang nambibiktima. Hindi namin mapigilang magtaka kung bakit hindi man lamang nakakuha ng nominasyon si Mercado bilang “Best Actress” sa nakaraang Manila Film Festival (MFF) samantalang bukod-tanging Rosario lamang ang pelikulang may napakalaking hamon para sa mga nagsisiganap.

Rosario lamang ang hindi naglalaman ng komedya sa mga pelikulang tampok sa nakaraang MFF; ito’y isang kuwentong hango mula sa tunay na buhay na isinalaysay ng tunay na anak ni Rosario, si Hesus, kay Pangilinan. Ang mga inilahad ng pelikula ay sumasalamin lamang sa mga totoong pangyayari; wasto lamang na hindi sinikap ng direktor o ng pelikula na pangunahan ang manunood na husgahan si Rosario. Sa halip, ipinakikita lamang ng pelikula na ang tadhana na mismo ang siyang humuhusga sa gawain ng tao. Sa sinapit ni Rosario sanhi ng kanyang kapusukan at dala ng kagipitan, maaaring masabing may isang buhay na nasayang, mga pamilyang nawasak, kayamanang tinalikuran, at kinabukasang itinapon. Maganda, matalino at may husay sa pagtugtog ng piano si Rosario, ngunit pinili niya ang pinili niyang buhay. Maihahalintulad si Rosario sa isang maapoy na konsiyertong inihinto sa kalagitnaan ng paglikha, isina-isang tabi, natabunan ng limot, hanggang sa hindi na ito matagpuan—tulad ng mga labi ni Rosario na hindi na rin malaman kung saan dadalawin ng mga naiwan. -Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

The Fighter

CAST: Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo,Robert Wahlberg, Dendrie Taylor, Jack McGee, Jenna Lamia,Salvatore Santone, Chanty Sok; DIRECTOR: David O. Russell; WRITER: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson; GENRE: Drama; RUNNING TIME: 114 min.

Technical: 3.5
Moral: 3
Rating: For viewers 18 years and above

A true-to-life story of boxer Micky Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg), The Fighter opens with Micky’s younger half-brother, ex-boxer Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) being filmed by an HBO crew for a story which he boasts to everybody is about his comeback, but which is actually a documentary about drug abuse in America. Dicky’s claim to fame is his having knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard in a fight ten years ago, but since then he has been addicted to cocaine and to training Micky who has in turn their fork-tongued mother Alice (Melissa Leo) as manager. Micky’s eye is caught by a smart barmaid, college dropout Charlene (Amy Adams); they set a dinner date, and disappear for three weeks. Micky returns home with Charlene in tow. Meanwhile Charlene has convinced Micky he’d be better off with a trainer and manager who will really look after him, unlike his predatory blood relatives Dicky and Alice who make him fight for the money. Defying his opportunistic family’s wishes Micky goes into intensive training and metamorphoses into a true fighter, starts winning and gaining self-confidence.

The realities of family life are vividly portrayed in The Fighter, thanks to solid performances from the lead actors. It is reported that Wahlberg and Bale, in particular, took the trouble to observe and “internalize” Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund for a more sterling portrayal of their characters. Bale went so far as losing weight to the point of looking emaciated, shaving some hair to make for a receding hairline, and perfecting his imitation of Eklund’s gait—all that so that none of Christian Bale is left on the screen.

On the other hand, Wahlberg—who admits he is a great fan of the Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao—wanted his performance “to have the caliber of Manny Pacquiao”, and so, following his idol during the latter’s training sessions at the Wild Card Gym, underwent training himself with the champion’s trainer Freddie Roach.
Fans will most likely compare the two lead actors’ performances and root for their respective idols, but it must be pointed out that they are portraying extremely contrasting personalities: Dicky is the swaggering junkie high on dope and his delusions of grandeur; Micky Ward is the upright but timorous guy who prefers to stay in the background. Micky is a man of few words; Dicky is vociferous. Micky lacks self-confidence; Dicky has an excess of it.

Melissa Leo paints Alice, the hateful mother whose domineering stance can castrate a husband, terrify her sons, and mute seven squabbling daughters. Not to be outshone in this den of cuss word spewing brood is Adams who departs from her sweet lighthearted roles (Enchanted, Night at the Museum) to play a relatively well-mannered girl until provoked—then she out-swears everybody else.

The Fighter presents a finely chiseled story that need not depend on surprises or clever dialogue to make its point. That it is a true story makes the viewer’s interest in it more than just passing. The daily situations that spin about the world of one big family in one small town may mirror the dramas going on in families anywhere in the world. The hub of the mayhem is Micky, and everyone wants a piece of him. In this boxer’s story, the fiercer fights take place outside of the ring. Look at the family dynamics and see your own in them: at times while we profess love for our family members, we do not always act in their best interest. We use them for our selfish ends, compete against them, knock them down when they don’t do our bidding; parents play favorites, children take advantage of parents’ weaknesses, etc.

While the transformation of the characters—notably of Micky who is now empowered to stand on his own and gain liberation from his delusional family—offers a justifiable denouement, CINEMA recommends The Fighter only to older teens and up due to strong language, imitative behavior and premarital sex scenes.—By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS

Shake, Rattle and Roll 12

CAST: Shaine Magdayao, Ricky Davao, Andi Eigenmann, Carla Abellana; Nash Aguas DIRECTORS: Zoren Legaspi, Topel Lee, Jerrold Tarog; PRODUCERS: Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Lily Monteverde; LOCATION: Luzon; GENRE: Horror; DISTRIBUTOR: Regal Films

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: V14

Ang unang kwento ay umiikot sa magkapatid na naulila na sa ina. Sa isang pagdalaw nila sa sementeryo ay makakapulot ng isang lumang manyika ang mas nakababatang kapatid. Iuuwi niya ito at tatawagin MAMA DOLL dahil tila ba pupunan nito ang pangungulila niya sa ina. Pero malaki ang pagdududa ng kanyang nakatatandang kapatid na si Anna (Shaina Magdayao) na may masamang espiritu nakapaloob sa manyikang ito at hindi nito titigilan hangga’t hindi matuklasan ang kwento sa likod ni Mama Doll.

Ang sumunod na kwento ay pinamagatang ISLA dahil naganap ito sa isang liblib na islang tinitirahan diumano ng engkanto. Daranting sina Andrea (Andi Eigenmann) dito upang magbakasyon at paghilumin ang puso. Susubukan niyang idaos ang SOULMATE RITUAL kung saan ay makikita niya ang mukha ni Rey (Rayver Cruz), ang tagapangalaga ng isla na nawalan na rin ng kasintahan dito. Pero sa halip ay matitipuan si Andrea ng engkanto at tuwing gabi ay susunduin siya ng mga lambana upang dalhin sa kaniyang kuta. Mapipigilan ba ni Rey na maulit kay Andrea ang nangyari sa kanyang kasintahan?
Ang huling kwento ay ang PUNENARYA at umiikot ito kay Diane (Carla Abella) at ang kanyang karanasan sa pamilya ng mga batang kanyang tinuturuan. Dahil sobrang sensitibo sa liwanag ang kanilang pamilya ay mapipilitan si Carlo (Sid Lucero) na kumuha ng tutor para sa kanyang mga anak sa kabila ng panganib na matuklasan ni Diane ang kakila-kilabot na liham ng kaniyang pamilya.

Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit kung kailan panahon ng pagsasaya at pagdiriwang ay gugustuhin ng mga taong manuod ng kakatakutan. Sa ika-12 serye ng Shake, Rattle and Roll lalong ginawang nakakikilabot and mga eksena dahil talaga namang nakadidiri ang umaapaw na dugo at lamang loob. Isa-isahin natin ang aspetong teknikal ng 3 kwento.
Sinikap ni Legaspi na bigyan ng bagong atake ang istilo ng pananakot sa MAMA-YIKA sa pamamagitan ng tila hapyaw at magulong mga kuha. Maganda sana ito at nakadagdag sa tensyon kung sinikap din ng manunulat na ayusin ang mga dialogue at gawing mas orihinal ang kwento. Hindi lamang korni ang script kundi nakakabagot pa ito. Hindi rin buo ang kwento dahil maraming eksena o tauhan ang maaring alisin nang wala naming mawawala sa itinakdang istorya. Nakakatawa rin ang halimaw na manyika. Kunwa’y imortal at di tinatablan ng patalim o ng pagpugot ng ulo pero namatay pangsumandali nang tamaan ng bala. Ang walang buhay na pagganap ni Magdayao ay lalong nakapangit sa yugtong ito.

Kung nakaiinis ang mala Chuckie doll na MAMA-YIKA ay nakalilito naman ang kwento ng ISLA. Hindi mo na nga maintindihan ang tinutukoy na misyteryo ng Engkanto at ni Ray, magulo pa ng pagtatagni-tagni ng mga eksena. May mga lumitaw na engkanto na bigla na lamang nawala at nakalimutan. Maging ang tauhan ni Maya (John Lapus) ay hindi naman nakatulong sa istorya, bagkus ay pampatawa lamang para siguro hindi naman mahalata ng tao na walang saysay ang yugtong ito. Hindi ko na rin bubusisiin ang hindi magandang visual at computer generated effects nito na para bang isiningit lamang ng wala ni kaunting pagplaplano.

Pinakamatino na sana ang PUNENARYA. Magaling ang supporting cast, malinaw ang istorya at buo ang daloy ng kwento. Maganda rin ang katauhan ni Diane (kahit magtataka ka kung bakit ang pilay na kapatid pa ang pinasundo niya nang siya ay malagay sa panganib) bilang bida dahil matapang siya at marunong manimbang kumpara sa iba babaeng pinatatakbo at pinasisigaw lamang habang hinahabol ng mga halimaw. Kaya lang ito rin ang yugto na talaga namang nakadidiri at dinaan ang pananakot sa pag-agos ng dugo, mga asong kumakain ng laman at pagtiwangwang ng lamang-loob ng biktimang kinakain nnag buhay.

Sa kabuuan, hindi sulit ang panunuod ng Shake Rattle and Roll 12; mas tipid pa kung aabangan na lamang ang pagpapalabas nito sa telebisyon o cable para malibang naman ang manunuod sa mga isisingit na commercial. Kadalasang nakikita sa mga pelikulang horror ang katapangan ng bida at katapatan sa kanyang mga mahal sa buhay. Sinikap ng pelikula na ipakita ito sa pagmamalasakit ni Anna sa kapatid, sa mga kaibigan ni Andrea at sa kabaitan ni Dianne. Magandang halimbawa rin sana ang katauhan ni Carlo na may paggalang sa tao kahit kaunti kaya’t pinili nilang bangkay lamang ang kainin (mala –Cullen ng Twilight). Pero ang katangiang ito ay nasasapawan ng maliit ngunit nakababalisang mensahe.

Una, sa MAMA-YIKA, hindi marunong magpatawad si Anna dahil hanggang kalagitnaan ng kwento ay sinisisi pa rin niya ang kanyang ama sa pagkamatay ng ina. Ikalawa, ang pagmamahal ng kanyang ama ay katumbas lamang ng mga laruan at materyal na bagay na naibibigay niya sa anak. Parang hindi siya nagsumikap na makabawi o mapunuan sa mga anak ang pagkawala ng kabiyak dahil sa kanyang kasalanan. Ikatlo, sa ISLA, tila ba ang paraan ng pagsasaya at paglimot sa sakit ng kalooban ay ang paglulong sa alak gabi-gabi.

Subalit ang pinakanakababalisa sa lahat ay sa tatlong kwento, para bang hindi naggapi ang kasamaan. Ang katapusan ng tatlong istorya ay nagpapahayag ng muling pagsasaboy ng lagim at kamatayan. Oo nga’t ganito ang buhay, umiikot at madalas nagpapatuloy pa rin ang kasamaan sa kabila ng pakikipaglaban ng ilan pero sana ay nagbigay naman ang pelikula ng kahit kapirasong pag-asa upang maipakita na sa huli kabutihan pa rin ang mangingibabaw.

Hindi angkop ang pelikula sa mga bata dahil sa tema, mga tagong mensahe at labis na karahasan ng mga eksena.—Ni Josefina Fenomeno

Thursday, January 6, 2011

RPG: Metanoia

CAST: (voices of) Zaijan Jaranilla, Aga Muhlach, Eugene Domingo, Vhong Navarro; DIRECTOR: Luis Suarez; SCREENPLAY: Luis Suarez; PRODUCER: Ambient Media, DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema; GENRE: Animation; RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes;

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

Si Nico (boses ni Zaijan Jaranilla) ay isang tipikal na batang mas kinahihiligan ang paglalaro ng computer games kaysa pakikipaglaro sa labas. Sa kabila ng pangungumbinsi ng kanyang ina (boses ni Eugene Domingo) na maglaro sa labas, ay tila may pag-aalinlangan parati si Nico. Ang totoo kasi’y walang tiwala si Nico sa sariling kakayahan at ang pag-aakala niya’y hindi siya nararapat sa mga gawain at larong pisikal. Sa paglalaro niya ng RPG: Metanoia, nagiging bayani at bida si Nico bilang si Zero, isang superhero na may taglay na kapangyarihan sa pamamagitan ng yoyo. Dahil kay Nico, nanguguna ang kanilang grupo sa larong Metanoia. Sa mundo ng Metanoia ay nagkakaroon si Nico ng kompiyansa sa sarili at dito na rin napapatibay ang samahan nilang magkakaibigan. Sa Metanoia rin natagpuan ni Nico ang kahulugan ng buhay at pag-ibig. Ito rin ang nagbibigay sa kanila ng koneksyon ng kaniyang amang nagtatatrabaho sa Dubai. Ngunit dahil din sa kabayanihang ito ni Nico ay mapapatalsik ang kanyang grupo sa internet café na kanilang pinaglalaruan. Mapipilitan sila ngayon na manumbalik sa kalsada at makuntento sa mga larong kalye. Lingid sa kanilang kaalaman ay may nagbabadyang panganib sa Metanoia dahil ang kalaban ay may nakuhang kakaibang lakas at tanging sila lamang ang maaring makalaban at makapagligtas sa iba pang nasa panganib. Makabalik kaya silang muli sa laro at maging bayani kayang muli si Nico?

Isang pelikulang tunay na maipagmamalaki ng bawat Pilipino ang RPG: Metanoia. Sa una’y aakalain na isang napakataas na ambisyon para sa mga manlilikha ng pelikula at sumabak sa larangan ng animation na tanging mga progresibong bansa lamang ang nakakagawa nito ng buong husay. Ngunit pinatunayan ng RPG: Metanoia na kayang-kaya na ng mga Pilipinong makipagsabayan sa larangang ito ng pelikula. Walang itulak-kabigin ang kahusayan ng CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) sa pelikula—world class ika nga. Aakalain din ng manonood na puro effects lamang ang mapapanood sa pelikula ngunit hindi. Ang RPG Metanoia ay may simple ngunit malalim na kuwento rin. Maayos ang pagkakalahad nito at talaga namang maituturing na orihinal sa kulturang Pilipino. Kahanga-hanga kung paanong napagtagpo ng pelikula ang makabagong teknolohiya at ang makaluma at tradisyunal na pagpapahalagang Pilipino. Sa isang banda, tinatangkilik ng pelikula ang mga likhang-banyaga ngunit sa isang banda rin ay binibigyang-pugay nito ang ating pagiging Pililipino sa napakaraming detalye ng pelikula na maididikit lamang sa pagka-Pilipino nito. Tulad ng yoyo na imbensiyong Pilipino, nariyan din ang kalesa, daing na bangus, barong, larong kalye at iba pa. Nariyan ding ipakita ang napakaraming hilig ng Pilipino—kuwentuhan sa sari-sari store, mga Koreanovela, OFWs at marami pang iba.

Hitik sa magagandang aral ng kabutihang-asal ang RPG: Metanoia. Bagama’t masasabing pawang may karahasan at masasamang epekto ang makabagong teknolohiya, partikular na ang computer games, ay naipakita pa rin ang ilan at maraming magagandang bagay na maaring maidulot nito. Sa larong Metanoia ay naisasakatuparan ng mga manlalaro ang kani-kanilang papel bilang bayani at kalaban. Ipinakita dito ang paglalaban ng kasamaan at kabutihan na gaano man kahirap at kalakas ang kalaban, ang kabutihan pa rin ang siyang magwawagi basta’t may pagtutulungan at malasakit sa isa’t-isa. Si Nico ay simbolo ng mga kabataang Pilipino sa makabagong panahon—mahusay sa teknolohiya, matalas ang isip at higit sa lahat, may angking katapangan sa oras na kinakailangan. Kitang-kita na ang nagtutulak sa kanya upang maging matapang ay pagmamahal. Sa kabila nito ay ang kanyang hindi maitatangging kamusmusan—maraming takot, maraming alinlangan ngunit sa tulong ng mga kaibigan at lalo’t higit ng pamilya, kanya itong nalalagpasan. Kahanga-hanga kung paanong isinalarawan ang pamilyang Pilipino sa pelikula. Tunay ngang marami sa ating pamilya sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pisikal na magkakasama dala na rin ng matinding pangangailangang mangibang-bayan alang-alang sa kapakanan ng pamilya. Sabi nga rin sa pelikula, sila ay mga tunay na bayani rin. Ang pagiging tunay na bayani ay hindi lamang makikita sa pakikipag-laban kundi pati rin sa pagsasakripisyo alang-alang sa kabutihan ng nakararami. Tunay na bayani rin ang mga nasa likod ng pelikulang RPG: Metanoia na sa gitna ng maraming balakid ay nagawang makabuo ng isang maipagmamalaking obra na pinagsanib ang modernong teknologhiya at kulturang Pilipino. Kung hindi man pantay-pantay ang katayuan ng mga lahi sa mundo, sa Metanoia, maaring maghari ang lahing Pilipino. Hindi man pisikal na magkakasama ang pamilyang Pilipino, sa Metanoia, maari silang magkita, magkausap at magkatulungan. Sana ang RPG: Metanoia na ang simula upang kilalanin ang Pilipinas sa buong mundo bilang mahuhusay na manlilikha ng animasyon at sana rin ay matamo ng pelikulang ito ang nararapat na suporta ng manonood upang magpatuloy pa sila sa paggawa ng maraming obra.--Ni Rizalino R. Pinlac, Jr.

Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote

CAST: Bong Revilla, Vic Sotto, Gwen Zamora, Sam Pinto, Oyo Boy, Amy Perez; DIRECTOR: Tony Y Reyes; MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Jesse Lasaten; PRODUCER: Marlon Bautista, Marvic Sotto, Orly Ilacad, Aneth Gozon; DISTRIBUTOR: Imus Production, M-ZET, APT, GMA Films, Octo Arts; GENRE: Comedy; LOCATION: Manila Philippines; RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

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

Sa pagtugis ni Agimat (Bong Revilla) sa kalaban ay mapapadpad siya sa Enkantasya kung saan kasalukuyang sinusundo ni Enteng (Vic Sotto) ang kanyang asawa na si Faye (Gwen Zamora). Sa simula ay mapapagkamalan ni Enteng na kalaban si Agimat subalit mamamagitan si Ina Magenta (Amy Perez) at matatanto ni Enteng na magkakampi sila sa pagsupil sa kasamaan. Upang matupad ang pagsasanib-puwersa nina Agimat at Enteng ay sabay silang magbabalik sa mundo ng mga tao upang magbigay ng proteksyon laban sa paghahasik ng lagim ng mga kampon ng kadiliman. Sa maikling pamamalagi ni Agimat sa tahanan ni Enteng nakadama si Agimat ng magkahalong kasiyahan at panibugho dahil sa nakita niyang magandang samahan ng pamilya ni Enteng. Naisip niya na dahil sa pagtupad niya sa kanyang misyon na paglaban sa kasamahan ay hindi siya nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na magkapamilya. Lingid sa kaalaman ni Agimat, si Samara (Sam Pinto), isang babaeng mandirigma, ang matagal nang humahanga at inaasam na maging asawa niya. Magiging tulay ang batang si Bebeng (Jillian) na kapwa nila nailigtas mula sa kamay ng mga halimaw upang magkalapit sina Agimat at Samara. Katulad ni Enteng ay nakasumpong din si Agimat ng masayang pamilya sa piling nina Samara at ng ulilang si Bebeng na itinuring nilang anak. Samantala nagsanib din ng mga pwersa ang mga mortal na kalaban nina Enteng at Agimat. Mula sa taglay na kapangyarihan ng mga kampon ng kadiliman ay ginaya ang anyo ng dalawa upang kidnapin sina Faye at Samara at pagbintangan ang isa’t isa. Dahil dito ay magiging magkalaban sina Enteng at Agimat.

Maganda ang ideya ng produksyon ng Ang Agimat at si Enteng na pagsamahin sa isang pelikula ang dalawang malaking tauhan sa pelikula. Ang karakter ni Agimat ay may misyon na pagsupil sa kasamaan samantala simpleng tao naman ang karakter ni Enteng na hindi sinasamantala ang kapangyarihang enkantado ng kanyang asawa at mga anak. Nabigyan ng patas na pagtatampok ang dalawang karakter bilang mga alagad ng kabutihan sa pelikula. Bagamat umiinog sa mga kaaway ni Agimat ay markado ang partisipasyon ng orihinal na kalaban ni Enteng na si Satana. Maliban naman kay Sotto ay wala ng masyadong inihain sa pag-arte ang iba pang nagsiganap. Gayunpaman ay nakapagbigay-aliw ang mga “special effects” ng mahika at ang disenyo ng produksyon. Patok sa mga batang manonood ang mga eksenang tulad nito. Maganda rin ang mga kuha ng kamera at iba’t ibang komposisyon na nagpapakita ng magagandang tanawin.

Pagbubuklod ng pamilya at pagwawagi ng kabutihan laban sa kasamaan ang tema ng Ang Agimat at si Enteng. Isang pamilyang nagkakabuklod sa pananalangin, suporta at proteksyon sa bawat isa at sa kapwa. Isang amang nakakaunawa at handang tiisin na malayo ang anak bilang paggalang sa hangarin nito na abutin ang pangarap. Pinakita rin ang pagiging responsable at paggamit sa taglay na kapangyarihan sa tamang paraan. Bilang tao ay mas matamis ang tagumpay kung patas at pinaghihirapan ang lahat. Ang isang may misyon ay nakitaan ng focus at dedikasyon. Bagamat ginamitan ng teknik na walang pinakitang dugo sa mga eksena ng espadahan ay dapat pa ring gabayan ang mga bata na kathang isip lamang ang kwento at delikadong maglaro ng matalim na bagay tulad ng espada. Sa kabuuan ay positibo ang pelikula sa mga aral ng buhay. –Ni Imelda Benitez