Friday, June 26, 2015

Jurassic World

Direction: Colin Trevorrow; Cast: Chris Platt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson; Story:  Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver;   Screenplay: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow; Cinematography: John Schwartzman; Editing: Kevin Stitt; Music: Michael Giacchino; Producers: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley; Genre: Action, Sci-Fi; Location: Isla Nublar, Costa Rica; Distributor: Universal Pictures Running Time: 124 minutes;
Technical Assessment            : 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3.5
CINEMA Rating: V14

Twenty-two years after the catastrophes with InGen’s Jurassic Park project, Simon Masrani (Khan) has found a way to revive and operate the program and now owns the biggest Themed Resort, Jurassic World, which attracts at least 20, 000 visitors a day. Meanwhile, brothers Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) are on the way to Jurassic World to spend some quality time with their aunt Claire (Howard), the park’s Operation Manager. However, Claire has more important matters she feels she needs to attend to and delegates her assistant to look after her nephews. Meanwhile, the park is about ready to release their latest creation, the Indominus Rex, a T-Rex genetically engineered according to the comments of the focus groups.  Accordingly, this dinosaur will be bigger, fiercer, and scarier since the public are tired of the existing attractions. Masrani wants the expert opinion of Owen Grady (Pratt), the parks’ Velociraptor trainer, first so Claire fetches him to show the Indominus. But when they arrive, they find that the Indominus has apparently escaped basing on the claw marks on the fence. A team enters the enclosure but is ambushed by the Indominus who faked his escaped through characteristics from various animals whose DNAs he was made from. A bigger chaos is about to ensue with the unstoppable Indominus on the loose in a full-packed park. The only hope is with Owen and his four Velociraptors.
A successful box-office film gives its remakes and sequels both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, there is a ready fan base to support the franchise, on the other, comparison is inevitable for the expectant fans. Jurassic World has some huge shoes to fill and it barely does. Storywise, there is a commendable effort to bring in tender moments between man and beast instead of portraying the once extinct creatures as the antagonists. They, after all, have been forced to live beyond their time for the selfish reasons. Main characters were properly developed and well played but supporting ones are forgettable. There is a lack of humor and punchlines in the script but is flows effortlessly still. The computer-generated images are magnificent and worth one’s while. Jurassic Park really comes to life, structure, attraction, dinosaurs and all. However, the suspense and thrill pales in comparison to Spielberg’s 1993 and 1997 films, considering that CGI here is a thousand times better. Jurassic World is an enjoyable movie but it may not be remembered the way its predecessors are.
There is a redemptive satisfaction to be reminded that man cannot dominate creation and nature. You would think that the disaster that took place 22 years ago is enough to teach people that, but no—man finds a way around for the sake a few hundred bucks. Jurassic World is an epitome of man’s greed and conceit and a harsh reminder that these will ultimately lead to his own downfall. On the other hand, Jurassic World emphasizes the importance of relationships and bonds—marriage on verge of breaking up destroys the kids, a woman who focuses on her career more than her family loses meaning, a man who respects life in all forms gains a friend. This specific theme made the difference in this 4th installment of the Jurassic franchise.  CINEMA raises a yellow flag on some scenes too graphic for very young children that may either scare or desensitize them. Parents are advised to use discretion in allowing their younger children to watch.

Friday, June 12, 2015

San Andreas

DIRECTOR: Brad Peyton  LEAD CAST:  Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti, Alexandra Daddario, Iona Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Colton Haynes  SCREENWRITER:  Carlton Cuse   PRODUCER:  Beau Flynn  EDITOR:  Bob Ducsay  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Andrew Lockington  GENRE:  Disaster film  CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steve Yedlin   DISTRIBUTOR:  Warner Bros. Pictures  LOCATION:  United States RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
Technical assessment:  3.5
Moral Assessment:  3.5
CINEMA rating: V 14
            Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter rescue-pilot is at the midst of his divorce when he takes a dangerous rescue mission and succeeds in saving an earthquake victim trapped in a ravine. Upon knowing that his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is trapped in a tall building in downtown L.A. and that his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is pinned down in an underground garage in San Francisco, he races across California to rescue them. Meanwhile Caltech seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) predicts the 1,300 km San Andreas fault line is about to set off. He organizes his team and media staff to get on air and he warns everyone about the coming massive earthquake. His live broadcast with journalist Serena (Archie Panjabi) helps get some people out of harm's way. As San Andreas fault shifts and rips apart major cities along the fault line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, buildings collapse and the tsunami sweeps away whatever is left, an epic devastation.
            San Andreas owes much of its box-office success to its amazing effects, its vivid depiction of mass destruction, which could be the best to-date.   Because it involves real people in a realistic disastrous situation (and not real people scurrying away from robots or zombies), the movie is able to engage the audience in the emotional ebb and flow naturally rendering human beings helpless in such a calamity.  Director Brad Peyton stages this cinematic destruction of US West Coast in meticulously rendered CGI, so real that it is almost palpable—particularly among audiences in the Philippines when warnings of “the big one”, the imminent splitting open of the West Valley fault. are currently being issued.”  The rupturing of a dam, the fires resulting from power lines going haywire, all those scenes are not likely to boost tourism in California, but it should give the viewers their first scary lecture on earthquake survival.
            Despite the empty nest syndrome—in the middle of a divorce, with his wife now living with a new boyfriend, while his daughter is off to college—Ray has no time to brood as his job throws him into what may be the most challenging rescue mission of his career.  At the end of the day, all those sights of the earth heaving and then breaking up and swallowing people alive really isn’t just about the prediction-come-true of a scientist nobody listens to; it’s more about how catastrophes reduce our personal problems into silliness, how—when all around us the world is literally crumbing we get to realize what matters most in life.  Spoiler coming: Ray is reunited with wife and together they save their daughter, a victory for the family.  Guess who the bad guy is.  (CINEMA tip: please keep young children out of the theater.  We sat next to a couple with a toddler who kept screaming at the scary sights.  The father took him out for a long while and when they returned the kid was asleep—from exhaustion, most likely).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Banks  LEAD CAST: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Britanny Snow, Skylar Astin, Elizabeth Banks  SCREENWRITER: Kay Cannon  PRODUCER:  Elizabeth Banks and Paul Brooks  EDITOR: Craig Alpert  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Mark Mothersbaugh GENRE: Comedy/Musical  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Jim Denault  DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Studios  LOCATION:  USA RUNNING TIME:  1:15 mins.
Technical assessment:  3
Moral assessment:  3
CINEMA rating:  PG 13
After being humiliated by a wardrobe malfunction at the Lincoln Center—with the President of the United States of America and his wife in the audience—the collegiate singing group, the Barden Bellas, are taken out of the A Capella circuit for being an embarrassment to the Barden University. But they are not prohibited from joining the World A Capella Competition to be held in Copenhagen, although they are discouraged from joining because, as the Barden authorities themselves claim, “no American team has ever won that competition.”  The undefeated champion at present is the formidable Das Sound Machine from Germany.  The Barden Bellas have to try twice as hard to beat them.
 The university feel of Pitch Perfect 2 lends the movie a touch of realism, with characters one might encounter in such a setting.  The simple story is enlivened by the musical score while the acting delivers the requirements of characterization in that genre.  From the time someone’s pants is ripped open to the moment the winner is announced there is no let up, not a second a viewer might be tempted to nap, although the movie resorts to the occasional crude language, obscene gestures, and adult themes and innuendo to keep the viewer awake.
College-age young adults as well as their elders have much to discuss in Pitch Perfect 2, such as the primacy of teamwork, the power of sisterhood, tradition as a positive force in supporting one another for a cause bigger than oneself, etc.  The surprise ending is a heart-lifter, coming so unexpectedly at a moment a boost is most needed.

Para sa hopeless romantic

-->Direction: Andoy Ranay;  Cast: James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Julia Barretto and Inigo Pascual; Story: Marcelo Santos III; Screenplay: JM Gadingan; Editing: Nacelle Sayr; Cinematography: ; Production Design: ; Producer: .; Music: ; Location: PUP, Manila area; Genre: Teen Romance; Distributor: Star Cinema; Running Time:1:45;
Technical assessment : 3 stars
Moral assessment : 3 stars
CINEMA rating: V13
Hanggang ngayon ay masakit pa rin para kay Becca (Lustre) ang paghihiwalay nila ng kasintahang si Nikko (Reid), kaya naman kahit sa kanyang pagsusulat ng nobela para sa dyaryo ng paaralan ay hindi rin niya mabigyan ng masayang pagtatapos ang kanyang mga tauhang sina Maria (Barretto) at Ryan (Pascual) sa kanyang kwento. Pero muli siyang mabubuhayan ng loob nang magkaroon ng di sinasadyang ugnayan sa taong nakaupo rin sa kanyang upuan sa klase dahil sa pagpapalitan nila ng sulat at kwento.
May kaunting kiliti ang Para sa Hopeless Romantic, lalo sa mga kabataang sumusubaybay sa mga tampok na tambalan. Nakakatuwa rin ang disenyong pamproduksyon, lalo sa unang bahagi ng pelikula, kung saan kulay rosas ang kapaligiran ng ikinathang mundo nina Maria at Ryan, samantalang makatotohanan ang mga kulay sa mundo nina Becca at Nikko. Wala namang bigat na hiningi mula sa pagganap ng mga tauhan kaya't mapapatawad na ang matigas at tila mala-karton na pag-atake nina Reid at Pascual at ang malatang pagganap ni Barretto. Malinis ang pagkagawa sa pelikula at walang mapupuna sa ibang teknikal na aspeto nito. Kung sana ay sinikap pang pigain ang pagganap ng mga tauhan dahil walang “chemistry” ang kani-kanilang tambalan kaya’t ipinagpilitan ng musika at ng mga angulo ng kamera na palabasing nagkakagustuhan sila, para naman kiligin ang mga manunuod sa mga bahaging ito. Mas malaki naman ang kakulangan ng kwento sa pagtalakay sa pag-ibig dahil nauuwi lamang sa romansang pangkabataan ang mga karanasan nito. Sabagay, kaya nga “hopeless romantic” ang pamagat, dahil ipinapapalagay na hindi masyadong pag-iisipan ang panunuorin.
Bagamat wala namang malaswa o bastos sa Para sa Hopeless Romantic, ay may malaking usapin itong binubuksan—lalo na para sa mga magulang. Ang panahon ba ng kabataan ay panahon ng pagkakaroon ng relasyon? Handa nga ba ang isang mag-aaral na nasa high school na harapin ang kumplikasyon ng relasyon at pag-ibig? Tiyak, ang sagot ay hindi, kaya naman kadalasan ang isang kabataang nahiwalayan ng nobyo o nobya ay halos madurog na ang mundo at hirap nang harapin ang iba pang responsibilidad. Heto kasi ang idinidikta at ibinebenta ng media: "kabataan + romansa = takilya". Akala tuloy ng kabataan, pagtuntong nila ng "teen" ay may lisensya na silang magkarelasyon at duon na iikot ang kanilang mundo at buhay.
Ang tunay na pag-ibig ay mahirap matagpuan sa usbong ng kabataan dahil higit pa ito sa kilig, romansa at kulay rosas na kapaligiran. Ang tunay na pag-ibig ay sinusubok ng panahon, hinahasa ng mga tunay na suliranin ng buhay, pinapalalim at pinapagtibay ng karanasan at ng hamon ng pagbubuo ng sarili.  Kung manunuod ang mga kabataan, nas mabuting may kasamang nakatatanda na makapagpapaliwanag sa kanila ng konsepto ng pag-ibig.