Monday, August 29, 2016

The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino)

Eight is enough

Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (released on DVD earlier this year) is reportedly his most middling production yet, with decent (not great) boxoffice numbers, with critics divided more than usual--some calling it "a high-wire thriller" and "quintessentially American," others declaring it "Tarantino's worse." 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The BFG (Steven Spielberg)

Big deal

Spielberg has lost something and I'm not quite sure what it is--energy, zest, maybe chutzpah. Whatever it is you can't help but think that's exactly what was needed for his latest, The BFG--originally a slim Roald Dahl children's book, now a tired lumbering superproduction by the once-New Hollywood's former boxoffice whiz kid.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay (Antoinette Jadaone) -- RIP Lilia

 Rest in peace, Lilia (1935 - 2016)

Who in the world was Lilia Cuntapay?

Possibly the most famous Filipino face you've never heard of, a minor actress who has appeared in forty films and television series to date (plus a few that the Internet Movie Database might have missed), and one of the more outre characters I've met on the fringes of the Filipino movie industry--never got her name completely right, but never forgot her, either. And she's the unlikely, bizarrely brave yet startlingly serene heroine of Antoinette Jadaone's 2011 feature debut mockumentary Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Shallows (Jaume Collet-Sera)


It's the summer silly season so what can be sillier and more summery than a shark movie? The premise is clever enough--young woman goes to an isolated beach to surf, finds herself alone and stalked by large predator.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Killing Joke (Sam Liu, 2016)


(WARNING: story and narrative twists discussed in close detail)

Alan Moore's The Killing Joke is generally considered the classic Joker comic book, Sam Liu's animated adaptation generally considered a desecration of the same; the truth as ever (or at least as I see it) lies somewhere in between.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Super (James Gunn, 2010)

James Gunn is better known for mixing quirky humor with standard-issue superhero shenanigans in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). The movie (which for the record I liked) was actually watered-down Gunn for the PG crowd, a fairly risky move (A gun-toting raccoon? A walking tree with only one line?) that paid off handsomely to the tune of $770 million worldwide. 

Super made four years earlier hews closer to authentic adult-dosage Gunn. Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson) is a short-order cook and longtime loser who has experienced only two perfect moments in his life so far: his marriage to former junkie Sarah (Liv Tyler) and his helping a police officer catch a purse thief--both moments immortalized in colored-pencil drawings that he tapes to a wall. Sarah soon leaves him for Jacques (Kevin Bacon), a local strip club owner and mid-level dealer who lures her away with offers to renew and maintain her habit.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Friday, August 05, 2016

Mga Bilanggong Birhen (The Captive Virgins, Mario O'Hara, 1977)

Magnificent obsession

Mario O'Hara's follow-up project after his World War 2 epic Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Three Years Without God, 1976) and producer Armida Siguion-Reyna's follow-up production after her Gabriela Silang musical Dung-aw (Dirge, 1975) co-starring Mario Montenegro was this 1977 film: yet another period drama, this time set during the American Occupation, also starring Mr. Montenegro.

Call the film O'Hara's The Magnificent Ambersons: after his misunderstood yet radical debut feature and impressive sophomore effort (Tatlong Taong) the filmmaker must have felt the pressure to deliver an even more sumptuous third, with broader historical sweep and larger cast of characters. For once he had the resources--Armida spared no expenses throwing in a period-accurate car (a '24 Chrysler if I'm not mistaken), a sprawling hacienda complete with elaborately laced beds and furnishings and religious statuary, even an elaborate overhead contraption designed to fan the family's epic-sized dining-room table during hot midday lunches.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (You Were Weighed and Found Wanting, Lino Brocka, 1974)

Tinimbang judged today

Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (You Were Weighed and Found Wanting, 1974) was a seminal work in contemporary Philippine cinema, one of the rare quality films of the '70s to enjoy commercial success; it also announced Lino Brocka, previously known as a skilled commercial director, as a major Filipino artist.