Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017

My heroine

(WARNING: plot and narrative twists discussed in detail)

She "(s)aved the DC Films Cinematic Universe!" declared one article; of all the hype swirling around the movie it's the attributed accomplishment I like the least. 

The movie itself? Better than expected, though saying that I realize we're talking drastically lowered expectations (Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman anyone?). 


Thursday, June 08, 2017

Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott, 2017)

Alienated

Coming out of the multiplex

A: So what did you think?

N: It's confused. 

A: Confused?

N: The movie doesn't know if it wants to be horror or science fiction.


Monday, June 05, 2017

A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema




A third golden age?

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from June 1 to the 25th will hold an exhibit titled "A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema"--basically a sampling of seventeen Filipino films from a broad range of directors: Erik Matti, Ato Bautista, Brillante Mendoza, Raya Martin, Lav Diaz to name a few. 

Wonderful tribute to what I agree is a wonderful development in our turbulent country: a (relatively) young generation of filmmakers funded by new forms of financing taking up the digital lens and recording not just what's happening around them but what's happening in their heads their memories their imagination. 


Friday, June 02, 2017

Twin Peaks (David Lynch, 2017)

A stranger's dream

A little over a quarter century later.

The gum you thought would never come back.

It is happening again.

There's no berry pies served, no coffee until the fourth episode where a cup--maybe--plays a crucial role. There's donuts--boxed and labeled (apparently from a wellknown franchise) not spread out in sumptuous display--and at one point a beautifully pointless pun involving the little crullers. Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) does appear but she's older now ("I'm dead yet I live") having somehow aged in the confines of the Black Lodge. Most of the characters have visibly aged, reflecting the physical condition of much of the audience ardently watching.

Ladies and gentlemen welcome--back--to Twin Peaks.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MNL 143 (Emerson Reyes, 2012)

Trip to Quiapo

You'd think Emerson Reyes' MNL 143took inspiration from Jafar Panahi's Taxi, or Steven Knight's Locke--both very good films that largely take place inside a vehicle--and you'd be wrong; Reyes' film came out three years before Panahi's, and a year before Knight's. Not that I'm suggesting Panahi or Knight were inspired by Reyes (Though who knows? The film screened in the Edinburgh festival the year it was released), just that the Filipino filmmaker is every bit as capable of conceiving a reasonably novel concept and now--thanks to digital filmmaking and fundraising efforts to support that filmmaking--is able to realize them on the big/small/online screen.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (James Gunn, 2017)

Beat of a different drum

This being a sequel it would be smart of me--obligatory almost--to declare that lightning doesn't strike twice, that Gunn has sold his soul to the corporate suits at Marvel, that this lacks the freshness of the original and so on and so forth. 

Might be true--is true, arguably--but what the hell enjoyed it anyway. 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Mutya ng Pasig (Pearl of Pasig, Richard Abelardo, 1950)


Love never dies

Richard Abelardo's Mutya ng Pasig (Pearl of the Pasig, 1950) at first glance plays like a musical version of Wuthering Heights (Dona Sisang's LVN Pictures was known for its musicals): the star-crossed lovers forcibly separated (this time by a false accusation and a prison term); the woman marrying another; the death in mid-narrative; the man haunted by ghosts of memories past--all accompanied by the occasional song (including the haunting eponymous melody* composed by Nicanor Abelardo, Richard's cousin) and dance number.