Friday, June 26, 2015

Marvel's Daredevil (Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight, 2015)

The man without

Interesting how the comic book Daredevil's tagline (man without fear!) is worn as a point of pride and not embarrassment. Arguably one of the more emotionally potent points Joss Whedon makes in his multimilliondollar superproductions is that his heroes lack some quality that renders them less than normal, rather than enjoy an extraordinary ability that upgrades their status to supernormal (Tony Stark has no humility, Steve Rogers social context, Thor a sense of mortality, Clint Barton and Natasha Romanova clean consciences, Bruce Banner consistent and effective impulse control). The deficiency humanizes them in our eyes, renders them less godlike and more accessible.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lav Diaz retrospective at FilMadrid

(Due to popular demand: the original English text used by the organizers for their Lav Diaz retrospective at FilMadrid: Festival Internacional de Cine de Madrid)

Evolution of a Filipino filmmaker

Lav Diaz's visual and storytelling style has been in a constant state of flux starting with his first produced film Burger Boys (1999)--a crime caper so surreal the producer delayed its released--to his first commercially screened feature Serafin Geronimo: Ang Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion (The Criminal of Barrio Concepcion,1998) to his first fully realized work, the four-hour Batang West Side (West Side Ave., 2001).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jurassic World; Game of Thrones Season 5

Doh!minous Rex
When I think of the Jurassic movies, I'm reminded of one of main principles that drive the theory of evolution: that everything in the process--from genetic mutations to mass extinctions to climate change--has the effect of forcing the surviving species into becoming smarter, more capable. 

Then I look at the franchise's latest entry and think: well, there goes the theory.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rizal Weather (or: Undressing Josephine Bracken)--an interview with writer and historian Austin Coates

Belatedly for Independence Day, an old article (note: any factual errors are strictly my own responsibility)

Rizal Weather (or: Undressing Josephine Bracken)  

WE WERE IN THE CHAMPAGNE ROOM of the Manila Hotel, talking to Austin Coates, Rizal biographer, novelist, historian, and a former high-level official of Hongkong. "We" were film director Tikoy Aguiluz, Monica Feria, managing editor of Graphic Magazine, George Asiniero, and myself. The weather outside was a blustery grey, sheets of rain splattering against the hotel windows.

"Rizal Weather," Coates declares. He was a neat, elderly man with immaculate white hair. "We were in Heidelberg one morning when we looked out the window and saw that the sky was pouring. We had plans in the afternoon, now the trip was spoiled. And--God--quarter past two, just when we were prepared to go, the sun came out. It always happens. The rest of the day was a glorious afternoon, and I remember we loved the sunset. When we got back at 6:30 it was pouring again. It rained for another three weeks. There you are--Rizal Weather." 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

La Jalousie (Philippe Garrel, 2013); La Belle et La Bete (Jean Cocteau, 1946)

C'est Magnifique!

From June 3 to 9 at Greenbelt 3 and Bonifacio High Street cinemas, the 20th French Film Festivals

Some thoughts on two of the films screening: 

Call Philippe Garrel France's best-kept filmmaking secret. The man has been directing since 1964, did his first feature in 1968; yet few of his films have enjoyed American distribution, his name largely unknown in that particular market.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014)

Man is an island

Mike Leigh's latest (his latest set in an earlier period, costumes and locations and all) Mr. Turner seems to take its cue from its eponymous character, an unfriendly, uncompromising, uncommunicative creature, except on specific occasions (usually his social equals; in one special case a woman--and even then he wouldn't say who he really was). He crosses entire countrysides in his unhurried gait, seemingly unaware of the gorgeous nature surrounding him--the rolling hills and suntinted seas and massive pillars of cumulonimbus--until he gets home and smears paint on the canvas, and you gradually irrevocably realize, to your not inconsiderable surprise, that this curt compact densely constructed little gnome of a man is actually a master of light and color.