Thursday, June 21, 2018

Manhunt (John Woo); Three (Johnnie To); Sky on Fire, Wild City (Ringo Lam)

Four by three

Playing catchup: in the everchanging landscape of World Cinema, what happened to Hong Kong's 'heroic bloodshed' movement--those action filmmakers who featured slow motion, balletic action sequences, guns pointed at each others' faces? 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Citizen Jake (Mike de Leon)

Citizen me

Mike de Leon's first film in--has it been eighteen years?--has to be an event; the latest from one of our finest filmmakers, in the same league as Lino Brocka, Mario O'Hara, Ishmael Bernal, Celso Ad. Castillo. If it's arguably the weakest feature he's done to date (hopefully not his last) it still stands head and shoulders above most anything out there today, Filipino or Hollywood. 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Panahon ng Halimaw (Season of the Devil, Lav Diaz, 2018)

Rock the Devil

Not long after Brillante Mendoza's Amo (which takes its cue from Respeto's rap-driven score) we have Lav Diaz's take on the Duterte regime. Panahon ng Halimaw (Season of the Devil, 2018) is no small-scale response: two hundred and thirty-four minutes long, some six minutes short of four hours. And it's a musical.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)


Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso started out as a manga for a modeling magazine turned into a short for Japan Airlines grew and grew and grew into his sixth animated feature--easily his oddest and most personal film.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Psychokinesis (Yeom-Iyeok, Yeon Sang-ho, 2018)

Best superhero movie of the year

I know I know I know I know--if you're sick of the genre as I am you probably don't want to hear about yet another super-powered protagonist, let alone the first ever to come out of South Korea. 

Yet I think Yeon Sang-ho's Psychokinesis (Yeom-Iyeok, 2018) is different. Or different enough to be worth a look.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Amo (Brillante Mendoza, 2018)

Who's the boss?

When Netflix announced that it was airing pro-Duterte filmmaker Brillante Mendoza mini-series (produced by TV5 Network), the intention was made clear from the get-go: to present "the other side of the coin" (as Mendoza states in an interview) of the drug war: "Yes, it (the drug war) is necessary for the Philippines--not only for the Philippines but also other countries afflicted with the drug problem." 

When interviewed by The Telegraph Mendoza's response (after the outraged response to his statement) was more measured: "This series will show the two sides of the coin," he says (italics mine). "The message is that we should all understand that there is a (drugs) situation in the Philippines…and now the government has really got very tough about it." He adds "I’m not saying that it should be addressed in the way that this government is dealing with it. But people tend to criticise and to give their opinions without even going deeper into the issue."

At least one human rights group has already voiced its opinion: The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) on hearing Netflix's declaration that the series is a "bold and suspenseful show that has the potential of capturing thrill-seeking audiences worldwide" has replied in an open letter: "This is a humanitarian crisis, not entertainment fodder."

The series itself? Well let me tell you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Superman 2 (Richard Lester, Richard Donner, 1980)

Margot Kidder 1948 - 2018 

Supermen two

(Story and plot twists of Superman II discussed  in close detail)

Thanks to the influence of the huge Hollywood superproduction that is Man of Steel (which I happen to despise) I was finally motivated to watch the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, and while I concede the technical superiority (the effects, music and overall tone have more of an organic whole) I do think the existence of this version only confirms what made Lester's version so memorable.