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!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Street Dance 2


CAST:  Falk Hentschel, Sofia Boutella, George Sampson, Tom Conti, Stephanie Nguyen, Samuel Revell, Niek Traa, Elisabetta Di Carlo; DIRECTOR: Max Giwa & Dania Pasquini; SCREENWRITER: Jane English  PRODUCER: Allan Niblo, James Richardson; EDITOR: Tim Murrell         MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Lloyd Perrin, Jordan Crisp; GENRE:  Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International; CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Sam McCurdy     DISTRIBUTOR  Protagonist Films; LOCATION:  London; RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:    3
Cinema rating:  For viewers 14 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: When top street dancer Ash (Falk Hentschel) is humiliated and laughed off stage by American crew Invincible, he sets off to gather the best dancers from around the world to take them on - with a dance style they weren't expecting. With landmark locations, a spectacular fusion of dance styles and an unparalleled vibrancy, the sequel to StreetDance sees our hero fall in love with a beautiful salsa dancer as he discovers the magic, power and passion of dancing for the ultimate global dance off.

Men in Black III


CAST:  Will Smith, Tommy Lee JonesJosh Brolin, Alice Eve, Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Kevin Covais, Michael Stuhlbarg, Nicole Scherzinger, RJ Smith-Tillman, Rip Torn; DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnerfeld; SCREENWRITER:  Lowell Cunningham      PRODUCED BY: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald; EDITING BY: Don Zimmerman;  MUSIC BY: Danny Elfman; GENRE:  Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy; CINEMATOGRAPHY: Bill Pope;  DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures; LOCATION:  USA; RUNNING TIME:  105 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:    3
Cinema rating:  For viewers 18 years old and above

In Men in Black 3, Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back...in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K's life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him -- secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.

21 Jumpstreet


CAST: Jonah Hill (Schmidt), Channing Tatum (Jenco), Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Dave Franco,  Johnny Dep,  Rob Riggle; DIRECTOR: Phil Lord, Chris Miller; SCREENWRITER: Michael Bacall; PRODUCED BY: Stephen J. Cannell, Neal H. Moritz; EDITING BY: Joel Negrone; MUSIC BY: Mark Mothersbaugh; GENRE:  Action-Comedy; CINEMATOGRAPHY: Barry Peterson;  DISTRIBUTOR:  Columbia Pictures; LOCATION: USA; RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  2.5
Cinema rating:  For viewers 18 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: In the action-comedy 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier - and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.

Every Breath We Take


CAST:  Piolo Pascual (Leo), Angelica Panganiban (Majoy), Carlos Agassi, Ryan Eigenmann, Smokey Manaloto, Ketchup Eusebio, Joross Gamboa, Janus del Prado,Wendy Valdez, Regine Angeles, Cacai Bautista, Frenchie Dy, and Ms. Nova Villa; DIRECTOR: Mae Czarina Cruz; SCREENWRITER: PRODUCER: ABS CBN; GENRE:  Romantic Comedy; CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR:  Star Cinema 
LOCATION:  Philippines

Technical Assessment:  3
Moral Assessment:  2.5
Cinema rating:  For viewers 14 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: Every Breath U Take follows the story of a womanizing bachelor who doesn't believe in love and a woman desperate to find one. When their paths meet, romance ensued

The Cold Light of Day


CAST: Henry Cavill, (Will Shaw), Bruce Willis (Martin Shaw), Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Echegui (Lucia); DIRECTOR: Mabrouk El Mechri; SCREENWRITER: Scott Wiper, John Petro; PRODUCED BY: Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy, Kevin Mann; EDITING BY: Valerio Bonelli; MUSIC BY: Lucas Vidal; GENRE:  Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure; CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR  Summit Entertainment; LOCATION: USA, Spain; RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes   

Technical Assessment:  3
Moral Assessment:  2
Cinema rating:  For viewers 18 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) goes to Spain for a weeklong sailing vacation with his family but his whole world turns upside down when the family is kidnapped by intelligence agents hell-bent on recovering a mysterious briefcase and Will suddenly finds himself on the run. -- (C) Summit Entertainment

The Mummy Returns


CAST:  Pokwang, Gabby Conception, Ruffa Gutierez, Kiray Celis, Gerald Pesigan, Jillian Ward, John Lapus, Kerbie Zamora, Ervic Vijandre, Hiro Magalona, Gloria Diaz; DIRECTOR:   Joel Lamangan; SCREENWRITER: Senedy H. Que; PRODUCER:  Regal Films; GENRE:  Comedy; CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR: Regal Films; LOCATION:  Philippines;

Technical Assessment:  3
Moral Assessment:  2.5
Cinema rating:  For viewers 14 years old and below with parental guidance

Masayang namumuhay ang middle class family ng mga Martirez.  Responsableng ama si William (Gabby Concepcion) at makalingang ina si Ruby (Pokwang)  sa kanyang asawa at tatlong anak sa kabila ng pagiging abala sa jewelry business.  Sa kasamaang-palad ay aksidenteng nakuryente at namatay si Ruby sa araw ng pagdiriwang ng ika-25 anibersaryo ng kanilang kasal.  Katulad ng inaasahan ay lubhang ikinalungkot ng mag-aama ang biglaang pagkawala ni Ruby.  Sa gitna ng pangungulila  ay mabilis na makakatagpo ng bagong pag-ibig si William sa katauhan ni Catherine (Ruffa).  Dalawang linggo pa lamang ang nakakalipas mula ng mailibing si Ruby ay nagpakasal ang dalawa na labis na ikinabigla at ikinasama ng loob ng mga anak.  Hindi nila matanggap na may kapalit na ang kanilang ina sa maigsing panahon at dahil dito ay hindi rin maganda ang pakikitungo nila kay Catherine bilang madrasta.  Samantala ay di mapakali sa kinahantungan purgatoryo ang kaluluwa ni Ruby.  Sa tulong ng manok ni San Pedro na nagbigay sa kanya ng tatlong kahilingan ay nakababa ang kaluluwa ni Ruby sa lupa upang proteksyunan ang mag-aama sa pamamagitan ng pananakot kay Catherine.
Ang pelikulang “The Mommy Returns” ay gumamit ng magkahalong pormula ng patawa at katatakutan upang ihatid ang gasgas na tema ng nagmumultong kaluluwa ng biglang namatay na ina at mahirap na sitwasyon ng babaing pumalit sa kanya sa buhay ng kanyang mag-aama.  May saysay naman sana ang kwento subalit naging mababaw at pilit ang dating dahil sa mga pinakitang sitwasyon ng kababawan at di makabuluhang mga diyalogo.  At lalong malayo sa realidad ang pilit na ipinasok na eksena ng pagbaril ng harapan sa gitna ng okasyon na maraming nakakakitang tao.  Pilit ding ipinasok ang tema ng kabaklaan sa layunin na magpatawa.  At dahil mababaw nga ang istorya ay di kinailangan na humugot ng malalim na emosyon ang mga artista sa kanilang pagganap.  Subalit sa larangan ng comedy, maliban kay Pokwang ay may ibubuga rin sa paghahatid ng mga linyang patawa ang mga batang nagsiganap.  Maganda ang  mga kuha ng camera, nabigyan-diin ang mga tampok sa eksena. Maingat ang effects na ginamit sa paglitaw at paglaho ng ghosts.  Maganda ang disensyo ng produksyon katulad ng purgatory.  Gayundin ang make-up ng mga nagsiganap bilang normal na tao at kahit bilang multo.  Akma rin ang mga inilitapat na tunog at musika.  Sa kabuuan ay naisalba ng mga aspetong teknikal ang mahinang daloy ng kwento at trato ng director.
Layunin daw ng pelikula na bigyang pugay ang mga ina kaugnay ng paggunita ng Mothers’Day.  Subalit bakit naman kaya ang mga pinakita ay imahe ng mapanadyang multo  na naka-highlight ang mga  kakulangan kaya di nakatuloy sa langit.  Ang madrasta naman bilang kapalit na ina ay bahagya lang nakitaan ng pasensya at pang-unawa sa mga batang nabigla sa pagdating niya sa buhay nila at naging magaan ang kamay sa pananakit.  Ang ina naman ng madrastra ay isang materyosang babae na nag-uudyok ng taliwas na ideya ng pagpili ng mapapangasawa ng asawa at pangunahin din ang pagkahumaling sa lalaki at yaman. Kung tutuusin ay mas nagpugay ang pelikula sa isang responsable at mapagmahal na ama na inaalala ang kapakanan ng anak sa sandaling maigupo sya ng malubhang karamdaman.   Subalit mali pa rin na inilihim niya ang sakit na siyang dahilan ng pagmamadali niya makahanap ng kapalit ng nasirang asawa.  Tila pagbibigay pugay rin sa mga bakla ang pelikula, mula sa mga lenggwahe, imahe ng anghel na tagabantay sa purgatoryo at ang kumbinsidong batang lalaki na isa syang magandang “babae” at matagumpay na  bakla paglaki.  Maganda sanang pagkakataon ang pagtalakay ng purgatory bilang pansamantalang hantungan ng kaluluwa ng mga yumao katulad ng paniniwala ng mga Katoliko na syang  mayorya ng populasyon sa Pilipinas.  Subalit hindi naman nabigyan-pansin ang bagay na ito.  Mayroon namang konting aral na hatid ang pelikula katulad ng subalit mas namayani ang kababawan, mga linya na may malisya, pagbibigay katwiran sa pananaw at gawain ng mga bakla na bagamat inihatid bilang mga eksenang patawa ay  lubhang nakababahala at maaring makagulo sa isipan ng mga bata kaya nangangailangan ng matured na isipan ng manonood.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dark Shadows


CAST: Eva Green, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller; DIRECTOR: Tim Burton; WRITER: Dan Curtis, John August, Seth Grahame-Smith; GENRE: Comedy / Fantasy; PRODUCED BY: Richard, D. Zanuck, Graham King, Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, David Kennedy; CINEMATOGRAPHY: Bruno Delbonnel; EDITING BY: Chris Lebenzon; DISTRIBUTED BY: Warner Bros.; LOCATION: United States; RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  2
Cinema rating:  For viewers 14 years old and above

Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine.  The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green).  A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972.  He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets.— Warner Bros.
Tim Burton revives the classic cult series through Dark Shadows, tagged as a “murderously funny fantasy” starring Depp as Gothic vampire Barnabbas Collins.   The movie may be escapist, all right, and with production designer Rick Heinrichs providing the atmospheric interiors, exploited to the max by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, and topped off with the tingling score by Danny Elfmann, it does provide an elegant and glamorous escape, whether or not you go for vampires or Goths.
For a bit of history: the original Dark Shadows, Dan Curtis’s vividly melodramatic ABC-TV series, pioneered the use of supernatural elements in soap opera.   It ran weekdays from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971, amassing 1,225 episodes, which is more than most other sci-fi series, including Doctor Who and Star Trek.  Now—both director Burton and star Depp have professed to being obsessed with Dark Shadows in their youth, and especially with debonair vampire Barnabas Collins, the series’ most memorable character.
Those who have seen the original (even internet-smart kids nowadays can download the complete original series) would naturally compare this Dark Shadows to the original concept; they might notice that Burton’s adaptation relies for impact on jokes and special effects instead of the foreboding atmosphere of the original.  The dashing vampire playboy is sometimes overpowered by Depp, the go-to for such bizarre character roles, who as the vampire resurrected after 200 years is a stranger to the modern world circa 1971, when they had only television.  Imagine how that vampire would react had he lain underground for another 40 years, when we have internet and all that!  Anyway, it’s an old team, as Burton and Depp also collaborated on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
Would you want children to see Dark Shadows (2012)?   Why not, as long as you warn them it’s fiction.  There’s a lesson somewhat to be learned here about fooling around with love.  Jilted women (like the witch who falls madly in love with Collins) could give you hell even if they can’t turn you into a vampire or curse your whole family; they could be witchy enough to make your life really miserable, even if only through Facebook.  Depp’s role here exhibits a mellowed character towards the end, who—although as a vampire he also inflicts harm on others—may not be totally unredeemable.   



Monday, May 7, 2012

American Pie: Reunion


CAST: Jason Biggs (Jim), Alyson Hannigan (Michelle), Chris Klein (Oz), Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin), Tara Reid (Vicky), Seann William Scott (Steve Stifler); DIRECTOR: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schossberg; SCREENWRITER:  Adam Herz, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schossberg; FILM PRODUCER: Chris Moore, Craig Perry, Warren Zide; EDITING BY: Jeff Betancourt;  MUSIC BY: Lyle Workman; GENRE:  Comedy, Romance; CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR  Universal; LOCATION: USA; RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

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


Thirteen Years after they have graduated, Jim (Biggs),Kevin (Nicholas), Oz (Klein), Finch (Thomas) and Stifler (Scott) return to their old town to attend their High School reunion over a long weekend and to momentarily relive their carefree adolescent lives.  Jim, now married to highschool geek Michelle, is suffering from a lacklustre sex life after the birth of their 2-year old son; while Oz’s booming celebrity career and high-profile relationship is merely a façade for the frustration he feels within. Finch is nowhere to be found and Kevin seems happily married and content as a stay-at home dad while Stifler is totally disgusted with his job and his tyrannical boss. When the boys get together, Stifler tries to recreate their high school life complete with slutty behaviour and sluttier parties but realize that his batch mates have outgrown him and actually have matured a notch. Jim gets advice from his dad, now a widower, on how to rekindle their marriage’s romance while the latter gets tips from his son on how to move out of his loneliness. The reunion provides an avenue to each of the characters to resolve their issues and realize how much their friendship means to them after all these years.
American Pie Reunion does not offer anything new. While it remains faithful to its core formula of sexual awakening and the growing up pains that it involves, the fact that the characters are now pushing 40 poses an issue with that premise. It doesn’t help that most of the jokes revolve on exposed body parts,  body fluids and bad attitude because it merely made the movie a little too juvenile. The attempt to give each character a storyline further thinned the already frayed plot.  The actors portrayed their characters as if they were still naïve hormone-driven teenagers raving to explore sexuality which makes them downright silly and pathetic. There are a few cheap laughs here and there and some noteworthy one-lines but who would want to waste two hours on such trashy film?
There are three problem areas with this movie. First, sex is treated as a commodity. Even with Jim’s “sex is sacred and you should save yourself for someone special” line to Kara does nothing to redeem its view on sex as something available to anyone anytime, anywhere. Everyone is just too horny and self-centered and seem to care nothing more than getting laid.
Second, the movie is composed mainly of immature characters who have no qualms about consequences, values or setting an example. It was one thing when the prequels involved highschool teenagers (although this is still not an excuse for sluttiness). But it is totally disgusting to watch 30 something men – some married, most holding a serious profession – trashing out their lives, getting too drunk to remember to wear their pants and finding themselves in silly situations where their marriage and reputation can be jeopardized over the weekend.
And third, although the ending provides a closure or resolution for each of the characters’ conflicts, it does so with a flimsy twist that neither redeem their previous actions or show hope that they are afterall respectable people just a little late on the maturity department.
American Pie Reunion has some good points though. It emphasizes fidelity in marriage and actually celebrates the commitment given to each other despite odds and challenges. Friendship and brotherhood resonate throughout the film. But sadly, these messages are not enough to drown the disgusting storylines and objectionable scenes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Cabin In the Woods


CAST: Kristen Connolly (Dana), Chris Hemsworth (Curt), Fran  Kranz (Marty), Anna Hutchison (Jules), Jesse Williams (Holden), Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Amy Acker, Brian White; DIRECTOR:  Drew Goddard; SCREENWRITER: Joss Whedon., Drew Goddard; PRODUCER: Joss Whedon; EDITING BY: Lisa Lassek;   MUSIC BY: David Julyan; GENRE:  Mystery & Suspense, Horror; CINEMATOGRAPHER     DISTRIBUTOR: Lionsgate  
LOCATION:   USA; RUNNING TIME:  95 minutes     

Technical Assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  1.5
Cinema rating:  For viewers 18 years old and above

SYNOPSIS: Two technicians in a sophisticated industrial facility are getting ready for an unknown operation, one of several taking place around the world.
Meanwhile, five college students drive out for a vacation to a remote cabin in the woods, while the technicians keep an eye on the students with hidden cameras. Through the use of sophisticated environmental controls and the release of mood-altering drugs into the air, each student is manipulated into a fairly common horror archetype by the organization. These changes generally downplay the students' intelligence, while enhancing sexual libido and lack of