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: *** CALL or TEXT: (02) 664 5886 *** or WRITE TO: CINEMA, Episcopal Commission on Social Communication, CBCP Compound, 470 General Luna St. Intramuros, Manila *** Enjoy the reviews, and THANK YOU!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I don't know how she does it

CAST: Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn, Seth Meyers, Kelsey Grammer, Christina Hendricks, Jane Curtin;DIRECTOR:Douglas McGrath;Writer:Aline Brosh McKenna;GENRE:Comedy;RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

Moral assessment: 3.5
Technical assessment: 3
Rating: Viewers age 13 and below with parental guidance

Kate is a successful finance executive who haggles time between career and family and survives it to the amazement of people around her. A partnership with New York based businessman Jack makes her career shines even more and signals no stopping for her. But the job that requires her to do quick frequent travels always compromises her promises to her children particularly with her seven year old daughter. Good for her that her understanding husband Richard is always at a rescue to make up for her. How long can this set-up work?

A novel adaptation, 'I Don't Know How She Does It' offers an unconventional story of a woman who is constantly in cramming mode but well-loved by family and admired by colleagues. The character of Jack is a big twist in a rather predictable story. It adds spice when viewers wonder whether the business partnership will mutually go beyond. The interview and narration inserts help in understanding the characters. At some point the editing struggles to establish the with of settings in Boston and in New York. But acting is good and so are the musical scoring. The film has good cinematography and compositions. 

The reason why Kate can do things in her plate is because she is a woman who is typically dedicated to her family and providing for them. But most of all she has supportive people around her. It appears that everybody loves her except herself. The tolerance of the husband is commendable. Burn out is a tendency for very busy people. The family is a blessing and therefore should not be a source of setback rather an inspiration for a person to move forward. At the time of confusion, the support of the family is important.

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa

CAST: Jean Garcia, Rocco Nacino, Paulo Avelino DIRECTOR: Alvin Yapan.  SCREENPLAY: Alvin Yapan; GENRE: Drama; LOCATION: Manila; RUNNING TIME:100 minutes

Technical Assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 2.5
Rating: For Viewers 14 years and above

Si Marlon (Paulo Avelino) ay may lihim na pagtingin sa kanyang guro sa Literatura na si Karen (Jean Garcia). Nang minsang subukin niya ito, malalaman niyang si Karen pala ay nagtuturo rin ng sayaw sa isang maliit na dance studio. Sa kagustuhang mapansin ng kanyang guro (na hindi niya magawa sa klase dahil hindi niya lubos na nauunawaan ang mga pinag-uusapang tula sa klase), maiisipan niyang mag-enroll sa dance class ni Karen. Ngunit upang makapag-pakitang gilas pa, magpapaturo muna siya sa kaklaseng si Dennis (Rocco Nacino) na nagtatrabaho naman kay Karen bilang assistant choreographer. Dito magsisimulang mabuo ang masalimuot na relasyon ng tatlo sa saliw ng sining ng tula, musika at sayaw.

Isang matapang na produksiyon ang Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa sa pagsusubok nito na isapelikula at pag-isahin ang iba’t-ibang sining upang makabuo ng obra na tatangkilin ng masang manonood. Sa simula’y tila dinadala ang manonood sa silid-aralan upang aralin at pag-usapan ang layon at anumang nais ipahiwatig ng iba’t-ibang tula na hango sa mga panulat ng ilang kilalang babaeng makata. Matagumpay na naihatid ng pelikula ang mensahe, gaano man ito kalalim at ka-komplikado. Simple ang kuwento ngunit pinaigting ito ng pag-iisang dibdib ng tula, sayaw at arte. Lumutang din ang husay ng mga tauhan na bagama’t bilang ang dayalogo ay mas marami namang sinabi ang mga mata nila at galaw. Dahil sa kanilang kahusayan, naiparating ang mensahe sa gitna ng mga patlang at katahimikan. Sa pagnanais nitong pasayawin sa indayog ng kuwento ang mga manonood, nagawa nitong dalhin sila sa direksiyon na kung saan hindi lamang basta manonood ang mga manonood kundi mapag-iisip din.

Sa kabila ng masining na pagkakagawa ng pelikula ay hindi maitatangging ang kalakip na mensahe nito ay ang pagsasabing ang sining ay likas na “amoral” o walang kinikilalang moral o imoral. Nakatutok ito sa estitiko, sa emosyon at hindi naka-angkla sa kung ano pa mang pagpapahalaga bukod sa pagpapahalaga sa kinikilala nilang “sining”. Ngunit maari pa ring maituring na katanggap-tanggap ang pelikula dahil nagawa nitong ihain ang mensahe ng hindi kinikiliti ang sensibilidad ng manonood. Hindi rin nito minamaliit ang lawak ng pang-unawa ng madla. Hindi ito nagpakita ng anumang kalaswaan sa kabila ng tema ng sekswalidad na ninais nitong talakayin. Hindi rin pinalangoy ng pelikula sa pagkakasala ang mga tauhan, bagkus, ang mga ito’y ginawa pa ring mga tauhang nag-iisip, marunong magnilay at tulad sa tunay na buhay, itinatawid ang mga suliranin at sumasayaw ng naaayon sa tugtugin. Kung minsa’y kontra-tiyempo, ngunit nagagawa pa ring itama ang mali. Binigyang dignidad ng pelikula ang karangalan ng isang guro, pati na rin ng mga makata, mga artista at mga mananayaw…sayang nga lang at hindi malinaw ang lugar ng Diyos na siyang tunay na may likha ng lahat ng sining at Siyang nagbibigay ng talento na nararapat lamang gamitin sa kabutihan at sa ikakalaganap ng Kanyang pagmamahal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Three Musketeers

CAST: Logan Leman, Mila Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christopher Walz, Orlando Bloom; DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson; SCREENPLAY: Andrew Davies, Alex Litvak; Based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas pere; EDITING:  Alexander Berner; PRODUCER: Paul W.S. Anderson, etc.; MUSIC: Paul Haslinger; GENRE: Action-Adventure; DISTRIBUTOR: Constantin Film, Summit Entertainment; LOCATION: France; RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

Technical Assessment:  2.5
Moral Assessment     :   3
Cinema Rating          :   For viewers 14 years old.

This is another big screen adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas pere’s historical novel of The Three Musketeers with some twists here and there to make the plot more family-oriented. Like the novel, the film version follows D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) travel to Paris to become of the Musketeers like his father. He is a well-trained fighter but is hot-headed and aggressive often ending up at the end of his opponent’s sword. On his first day in Paris, he manages to almost get killed by the Cardinal’s guards, gets into petty fights with the Athos (Macfadyen), Porthos (Stevenson) and Aramis (Evans) and challenges each to a duel at midday. But when the Cardinal’s guards come to arrest the Musketeers, the 4 come together and defeat all 40 of them. D’Artagnan is invited into the Musketeer’s homes and learns that life has become dull and boring for the 3 since they no longer have a cause to be passionate about. Meanwhile Cardinal Richelieu has taken control over France because King Louis XIII (Fox) is far too immature and inexperienced to lead France seriously.  Later, the Musketeers and D’Artagnan find their respective causes when they are tapped by the Queen’s maid-in-waiting to retrieve a diamond necklace from Lord Buckingham (Bloom) to avert the Cardinal’s plan to tarnish the Queen’s reputation and launch a war between France and England.

The story tries to be faithful to the novel and cleverly adds the right twist to make the plot more palatable to the younger audiences. The costumes and set design are outrageously impressive. There was an attempt to update the dialogue but it didn’t really quite have enough wit and bite to be funny and memorable. The characters and their acting feel caricaturist and theatrical. The battle and fight scenes are lame and tedious. There is no excitement either in the choreography or the shots or the over-all direction of the scene. The special effects were done to impress rather than to deliver a point. As a whole, the movie which had enough promise and potential did not really get there and failed to be engaging to its audience.

The good news is the movie has very little disturbing scenes, save for the inevitable swordfights, some crass language and the musketeer’s love for liquor. It briefly talks about honor, valor, friendship and loyalty to the crown but does deliver a clear message. Even the famous “All for one and one for all” battlecry has been lost. Although some might find the role of the Church against the monarchy a bit disturbing, especially since the real-life Cardinal Richelieu did play a controversial role during the time of King Louis XIII, is still presented as fiction and should not be taken any more than a twist in the story. The move has no valuable message to take home but neither does it have any objectionable one. As long as viewers are clear that they are watching fiction, mature teenagers can handle both the material and the treatment but the younger ones should be guided by their parents.

Friday, October 14, 2011


CAST:Hugh Jackman (Charlie Kenton), Dakota Goyo (Max), Evangeline Lilly (Bailey Tallet), and Anthony Mackie (Finn);DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy;SCREENWRITER:John Gatins;PRODUCER:Stephen Spielberg;EDITOR:MUSICAL DIRECTOR;GENRE:Drama, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy;CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR:Dream works Pictures & Touchstone Pictures;LOCATION:USA;
RUNNING TIME:230minutes  

Technical Assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 3
Cinema Rating: For viewers 13 years old and below with parental guidance       

Real Steel is based on the 1956 short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson and center on the father and son story of Charlie (Hugh Jackman) and Max (Dakota Goyo). It is 2020 and boxing has now become a sport between mechanically controlled robots instead of real people. Charlie, a retired boxer,  is being chased left and right by his loan shark creditors while his son Max, must spend the summer with him for the first time after his ex-girl and Max’s mother dies. Charlie makes one attempt after another to win a match and make some money to pay off his creditors,  however his arrogance and lack of foresight lead him to bigger debts and trouble. Now,  Charlie must struggle to make some decent living and build a non-existent relationship with his 11 year old son before his past catches up with him.

Real Steel is a delight to watch with enough high-tech gadgets amidst the grit and ruthlessness of real life.  The story is well meaning and well told. One cannot help but be caught with Charlie’s constant attempt to be the person he ought to be and his unspoken desire to be a better father. Jackman and Goy’s chemistry is as explosive as the fight scenes and manage to capture the sympathy of their audience.  The CGIs and post-prod techniques are amazingly realistic and truthful. For a few minutes, the movie successfully transports the viewers to another time which is for more advance technologically but as dramatic as any other time. Overall, the movie is visually enjoyable and worth watching.

A world of robot and underground combat  teamed up with gambling and illegal betting naturally spells violence. Now, thrown in an 11-year old kid who shockingly adapts so easily with that kind of world makes the situation a little more unsettling. For this matter, Real Steel is not a suitable movie for young audiences.

However, there are little bits of lessons of life through here and there that could be picked up by adults and children alike. For one, the unmistakable love between father and son and their struggle to build a relationship is touching. Second, the movie beautifully shows how the power of love can transform the  a hardest heart to make him want to be a better man. And last, hope and determination is amidst struggles and failures are emphasized in the father and son journey to win a fight.

Apollo 18

CAST:  Warren Christie (Lunar Module Pilot Captain Benjamin "Ben" Anderson), Lloyd Owen (Commander Nathan “Nate” Walker), Ryan Robbins (Command Module Pilot Lieutenant Colonel John Grey); DIRECTOR: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego; SCREENWRITER:Brian Miller, Cory Goodman;FILM PRODUCER: Ron Schmidt, Timur Bekmambetov;GENRE:Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror;CINEMATOGRAPHER DISTRIBUTOR;Weinstein Company;LOCATION:Vancouver, Canada; RUNNING TIME:96 minutes

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 1.5
Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above     

The film says that there were actually 18 Apollo missions to the moon although the US government declared only 17. The video footage of Apollo 18 surfaced on the Internet and the film is said to be its edited version. Astronauts Benjamin Anderson (Warren Christie) and Nathan Walker (Lloyd Owen) were the ones sent by the US Department of Defense to the mission. What is supposedly a routine scientific exploration turns out to be a revelation of something unknown and dangerous as they start to discover mysterious entities on the surface.

Apollo 18 is an attempt to revive the glory of the found-footage-horror genre in the tradition of the box office success of The Blair Witch Project. However, Apollo 18 fails in one important respect – making the audience believe that the entire film is taken from an actual footage and that the video footage is for real. The moment the film loses the audience’s suspension of disbelief, it loses its audience entirely. From the dragging beginning wherein nothing’s really going-on but the audience only sees a glimpse of the astronauts’ life, to the supposedly horrific ending that turns out to be more laughable than horrifying, The audience is made to watch characters whom they won’t really care about. Apollo 18 failed as a mission and it fails as a film as well.  

The message of the film is even ambiguous. At one point, it simply tries to expose a US government anomaly, then it shows how a man turns into a beast for survival. The “what’s going on?” question turns into “what does the movie really want to say?” As an expose, it failed to reveal much and investigate further. Making the entire look of the film more fictional than real. Again, the moment they fail to sustain the audience’s suspension of disbelief, they lost whatever point they want to convey. But looking at the film as a fiction, it does not say anything much except the moral dilemma faced by the characters and theUS government whether to keep them alive or not despite their acquired infection. Can a person’s right to life be sacrificed for the sake of national welfare and safety? In the same light, is it acceptable for the government to conceal information that would reflect badly on them? The film posed more questions than answers given its questionable credibility that is ruined by improper handling of the genre. But then, the answers to the questions are still worth pondering.

Friday, October 7, 2011


CAST: Daniel Craig (Will Attenton), Rachel Weisz (Libby), Naomi Watts, Elias, Koteas, Marton Csokas;DIRECTOR:Jim Sheridan;SCREENWRITER:  Jim Sheridan PRODUCER: Morgan Creek;EDITOR:  MUSICAL DIRECTOR;GENRE:Drama, Mystery, Thriller;CINEMATOGRAPHER: Caleb Deschanel;DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Studio;LOCATION: USA ; RUNNING TIME:  92 minutes

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 1.5
Cinema Rating: For viewers 18 years old and above     

Will Attenton (Daniel Craig) decides to give-up his high-paying job so he can finally settle down and spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two young daughters. They just recently moved into what Will would call, a dream house in suburb New England. Everything is blissful until the kids and Libby start to see and feel that something is wrong in the house. Will and Libby later on discover that their house is a site of murder wherein a man named Peter Ward killed his wife and two daughters. As Will investigates further, he will become more wary to learn that Peter Ward is still and already on the loose. For fear that his family might be the next target, Will does further investigation to locate Peter Ward, only to discover the truth that would be difficult for him to accept and handle.

Dream House boosts a powerful cast of good thespians who are able to pull off whatever it is that’s lacking in the film’s narrative. The audience is able to engage in the story more so because of the actors’ acting. The film has a strong beginning, however, when it revealed the greatest twist in the story, it never moved on to more interesting directions and possibilities. The story has nothing much to offer anymore after the said revelation.  The scare never climaxes and the suspense becomes less thrilling. If one scrutinizes the plot, there are many loopholes in the logic of the thread.  Much craft is seen though more on the film’s cinematography, music and sound that blend well. Then again, the audience will always look into the story. Dream House could’ve been great given the genius behind the film. Perhaps, they should think of a more intelligent plot after the twist and switch of fate is over.

The film dwells on one’s miseries with the distress he has gone though in life. Dream House  is about a man who tries to move on only to find out that the very root of his problem is the fact that he has not moved on. There is a lot of genius in this premise only that the same point blurs somewhere in the story when it fails to convince how things came about. Will believed in his own ghosts that he is able to create and re-create a ghost-reality. But then, faith is not seen in such hallucinations, it only furthers the works of the devil. It seems, justice is elusive in such innocent lives and innocent victims in the story. Why such a horror would happen to a nearly-perfect family living in a dream house? Perhaps the film is also saying that bad things really happen to good people. It will be apparent towards the film’s end that somehow, justice is served to those who deserved to be punished. Some scenes of violence may not fit the very young audience.

Dolphin Tale in 3D

CAST:  Harry Connick Jr. (Dr. Clay Haskett), Ashley Judd (Loraine Nelson) Kris Kristofferson (Reed Hasket), Nathan Gamble (Sawyer Nelson), Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Austin Stowell (Kyle), Morgan Freeman (Dr. Cameron);DIRECTOR:Charles Martin Smith;FILM PRODUCER: Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Richard Ingber;SCREENWRITER: Karen Janszen;EDITOR:MUSICAL DIRECTOR;GENRE:Drama, Kids & Family;CINEMATOGRAPHER DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. Pictures;LOCATION: USA;RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes  

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 4
Cinema Rating: For viewers 13 years old and below with parental guidance

SYPNOSIS: Dolphin Tale is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Without a tail, Winter's prognosis is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle-a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help scores of people around the world.