Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie No. 31 (2016): Gaspar Noe's LOVE

Love (2015)
Director: Gaspar Noe
Cast: Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock

I almost dismissed the movie as pornography. It's when I endured watching it towards the end that I realized it's not pornography despite the explicit sex scenes. The narrative structure and the main idea the story line explores makes the movie a legit mainstream flick. Erotica may be the appropriate term. All the scenes in the movie that we don't normally see in love stories on screen are, in my opinion, indicative of love. The director even suggests that the love we see in love stories on screen is false. I guess, I agree.

My my only problem with this movies is that "such scenes" are excessive. I think, also, that the editor could have done more work on these scenes.

Rating: 3.0/4.0

Date seen: June 26, 2016

Movie No. 30 (2016): DAYS OF BEING WILD

Days of Being Wild (1991)
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Cast: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau
In Chinese, with English subtitles

Every character in this film is desperate to find connection. The lead character (York or Yuddy) learns that the ex-prostitute who has raised him is not his real mother. In the midst of this feeling of being incomplete, he lets two women who have the misfortune of falling for him compete for his attention. He compares himself to a bird with no legs which keeps on flying, resting and sleeping in the air if tired, and shall land only when ready to die. 

This film came earlier than Chung King Express and In The Mood For Love. However, when the film got released in the west in early 2000, many 'discovered' the genius in Wong Kar Wai. It's quite evident in this film the directing style that we saw in his later films. There's always magic on the screen when extreme close ups flash on the screen, or when western music is played to complement or contrast character's mood, or when exquisite cinematography courts the eye, or when all of these happen at once. Simply hypnotic! 

This film is not just among the best films that come from Hong Kong or made by Wong Kar Wai. It's one important masterpiece of world cinema.

Rating: 4.0/4.0

Date seen: June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Movie No. 29 (2016): ROPE

Rope (1948)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: James Stewart, Farley Granger, John Dall

"Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them."

"... the privilege of committing it (murder) should be reserved for those who are really superior individuals."

These are some (disturbing) dialogues from the movie. 

Two college friends kill their friend for the sake of killing. Their twisted philosophy makes them do it. They put the lifeless body in a chest, serve foods on it its top, and invite some acquaintances, including the victim's father and girlfriend, for a party. We get to know how the people in the party are related as well as their back stories. Everything seems fine until the hosts' former professor starts to suspect things about the non-appearance of the victim in the party.

The movie is adapted from a play. It also looks theatrical on screen, which is not at all a bad thing. It's the script that makes the movie flow with ease until the finale.

Rating: 4.0/4.0

Date seen: June 12, 2016

Movie No. 28 (2016): BONIFACIO, ANG UNANG PANGULO

Bonifacio, Ang Unang Pangulo (2014)
Director: Enzo Williams
Cast: Robin Padilla, Vina Morales

I saw the movie a while ago on ABS-CBN, a special Independece Day presentation of the network.

The movie is another extrapolation of the so-called 'untold' story of Andres Bonifacio. However, it doesn't give fresh historical perspective. It only attempts at giving a different cinematic presentation. Generally the movie is okay, particularly in the technical aspects. 

There were scenes that, for a while, made me think I was watching an action movie. Maybe, that's a failure in editing. But, that's minor. My biggest problem with the movie movie was that I was never convinced that Robin Padilla was Bonifacio. What I saw was Robin Padilla desperately trying to be Bonifacio. I don't have the idea about the mannerisms of the real Bonifacio. But, Robin Padilla should have, at least, made a consistent character far from his persona.

Rating: 2.0/4.0

Date seen: June 12, 2016

Movie No. 27 (2016): A SECOND CHANCE

A Second Chance (2015)
Director: Cathy Garcia Molina
Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Dimples Romana, James Blanco, Bea Saw, Ahron Villena
In Tagalog, with English subtitles

The movie is the sequel of the well-loved love story of Popoy and Basha in One More Chance. Now, Popoy and Bash are married. The movie is an attempt to take a closer look at the issues in the marriage life of the so called millenials. The narrative, however, suggests that their problems are not unique. But what makes the movie work is our familiarity with the characters. While one flaw of the movie is too much focus on the two characters, that aspect is also its strong point. John Lloyd Cruz gives a consistent characterization of the Popoy character. Bea Alonzo easily complements it. This may not be one great movie about the theme, it is, however, a cut above the usual commercial movies that local studios make.

Rating: 3.0/4.0

Date seen: June 12, 2016