Archive for October 2011

REVIEW: Praybeyt Benjamin   6 comments

After the very successful No Other Woman (which is officially the highest grossing local film of all time), one might think how Star Cinema and Viva Films will follow that superb path. When in doubt, then go with Vice Ganda. This military themed comedy about how a gay man sacrifices his identity in order to save his family is having the last laugh with its box office success.

Vice Ganda plays Benjamin Santos, the flagbearer of the iconic name that spells machismo and hero at the same time. When his famous grandfather (who holds the same name) figured out that he’s gay, his family was altogether banned from the entire clan. Tables turned when this specific Benjamin Santos, together with a bunch of imperfect friends, became the life saver of the clan that threw his family off.

The movie uses a specific type of humor to carry the film. Sarcasm is their best weapon, and if that’s the kind of humor you are looking for, then you’re in for a very fun ride. Lucky for me, I do well at sarcasm and the film had me rolling in stitches. The dialogues are not deep and relied on the delivery of the actors. There are still some weak and failed jokes that obviously has been recycled to death already. I also do feel that there are no need for cameos and some pop culture references that were mentioned in the film. Most of them failed to give justice to what they are supposed to do.

Still, this is the Vice Ganda show. The role was tailor made for him, and the lines were obviously written for him. Had this been any other actor in the lead role, then  it wouldn’t have had the same success. The supporting cast were good as well, though most of the jokes were straight from their personal life. Everything in the film seems calculated from the actors to the roles. Good thing though is that this is not the type of film that must be taken seriously. So it works.

If you want to laugh out loud like there’s no tomorrow, then I recommend you to watch this one. On the other hand, serious “critic” reviewers must avoid this like a plague. They’ll be missing the point of the entire film.

Grade: B-

Posted October 30, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa   3 comments

First things first: this is not a gay movie. Nor is it a film about homosexuality. It saddens me to see people who feel that way. When I saw this months ago in a film showing in a top university, the crowd was going crazy wild thinking it was some sort of a soft core porn. If anything, the film is sensual and stimulating to the mind. 🙂

Sayaw is the story of Marlon (Avelino) who likes his literature professor Karen (Garcia). Since he’s not doing great in her class, he decided to compensate it by enrolling in Karen’s another class: dancing. But in order for him to do well, he asked the help of fellow classmate and Karen’s dancing class assistant, Dennis (Nacino). What happened next is a combination of a bizarre relationship among he three characters, with some dancing and poetry in between.

Initially, I have reservations with how the filmmaker and screenwriter tried to spoonfeed  the viewers on how they should interpret the poems. Every line is being explained by the teacher in her own interpretation; there’s no room left for the audience to interpret it in their own way. But of course, I spoke too soon. I love how the filmmaker balances the feat of giving too much and still holding back to the audience. That’s probably one of the reasons why I admire this film.

As for the technical aspect, I commend on how the film translates the intricate and delicate choreography through the cinematography. It was delightfully captured on screen. The editing is passable with some brilliant moments and some that could have been better. The music is a vital component in this film, and it finds its rhythm together with the rest of the film.

Surprisingly, the acting is nothing to be ashamed of. Jean Garcia is a given already, but her compassionate performance as the teacher makes you appreciate how dedicated she was not only in that role, but as an actress in general. The two young actors did not outdo each other. With every move and every dance, the undeniable chemistry is sizzling right there in your eyes.

Films that tackle art in various forms only come once in a blue moon. This is one of those films. For that reason alone, it deserves to be seen by more people.

Grade: A

Posted October 30, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: My Neighbor’s Wife   1 comment

Regal Films has its own tale of infidelities and wife swapping in My Neighbor’s Wife. In the film, two couples, the superior a.k.a the rich (Jake Cuenca and Carla Abellana) swaps partners with the inferior a.k.a the struggling (Dennis Trillo and Lovi Poe), in this stuck in the 90s melodrama about trust and betrayal.

The film, though very predictable, has some good moments in it. There are scenes that highly explained the reason why the characters act such way, but it was overpowered by the contrived attempt of the director to dig deeper than what the film actually can carry. The wife swapping scene in the middle of the film was already predictable once you see how they resolved the first one in an earlier scene in the movie. Also, there are times where in you question what the agenda of those characters are in order to believe their actions. I feel bad for Lovi Poe’s character as I don’t get why she’s being treated as the most pathetic character in the film.

The acting in the film is also half baked. Despite being pathetic, Lovi Poe squeezes everything she can to play her character and comes off as passable in the film. Jake Cuenca showed off his rare buns; sadly, it was at the expense of a film that’s not worth it. Dennis Trillo’s acting has been the same for years. I wouldn’t hold it against him because his material didn’t give him anything to do. Carla Abellana is the obvious weakest link of the four. It is very obvious how much she wants to step up and I give her credit for that, but most of the time, she comes off as a constipated comatosed ham actress on screen. I give props to Dimples Romana who was effortlessly the scene-stealer of the whole movie. She is a breath of fresh air with her comedic relief as Abellana’s business partner.

All in all, this was better as a filler episode for some melodramatic once a week TV movie. The premise is there, but everything else isn’t. Had they tried to go the other direction, then we’d probably see a much better film.

Grade: C

Posted October 28, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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Me, Myself, and I   Leave a comment

In order to maintain a healthy relationship with others, it is a BIG MUST that you maintain one with yourself. Therefore, it is indeed needed to spend some “me time” with yourself. Not only does it make you do some crazy things that only you can understand, it also keeps you sane and grounded. 🙂

After hearing some negative things about me earlier this day, I have decided to give myself a treat. After all, the only person who can understand me the most is myself. I hurriedly left the office and went to Alabang Town Center to pamper myself. I was on the verge of watching Real Steel and/or What’s My Number, but both have already started when I reach the mall. I just decided to roam around with my jumbo Cookies and Cream Blizzard and canvassed for a new external hard drive (because my laptop is begging me to have one).

I must admit that it was a big relief; although I must say that it was at the expense of my huge belly. But what the hell? If an ice cream will give me the much needed companion for that afternoon, then so be it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that I was looking for. I was ready to go home and continue work over there when impulse suddenly controlled me, and the next thing I knew, I was already at Festival Supermall. I looked for books, magazines, and some other stuff that will make me forget the bad things that I have heard. I left my phone unreachable so that I won’t be bothered with anything. At that time, I was just enjoying the moment.

I also stopped by a Church and went for a quick moment with God and Mama Mary. I just said thanks for all the blessings that I, my family, friends, and loved ones are receiving. I also thanked Him for the progress that the Given Grace Cebanico case had. Furthermore, I prayed for YOU; that you may be guided into thinking and doing the correct things. 🙂 I went to a last stop and had a haircut so that my “tour” will be worth it. Once home, I had my hair cut and a new external hard driver to boot! (Yay!)

Of course, this does not mean that you need tons of money to make yourself feel happy (though it can be helpful. HAHAHA).  To be honest, the most fulfilling part of my day was when I talked to God. A close second of course was when I had a new EHD. LOL. Bottom line is, it’s not bad to take yourself out every once in a while. How I wish there’s mandatory date yourself day every day. Trust me, this is necessary because how people see you starts with yourself. After this day, I actually feel more loved. Why will I focus myself on one person who does not like me when there’s a looot out there who loves me? 🙂

Also, never ever focus on the negative things. If any focus is given on such, then turn them into anything positive. It definitely helps a lot. Actually, I’m already looking forward to my next date with myself. 🙂

Posted October 17, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Personal

84th Academy Awards Predictions: October   Leave a comment

I can feel it. Oscar season is coming up! And since I have no time to come up with in depth analysis ( caused by a combination of busyness and laziness), I’ll be presenting my Oscar predictions for October for the top six categories. Anyway, they’re ranked based on the likelihood of getting a nomination.

BEST PICTURE:

  1. War Horse
  2. The Descendants
  3. J. Edgar
  4. The Artist
  5. Midnight in Paris
  6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  7. Moneyball
  8. The Help
  9. Hugo
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  12. Tree of Life

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Steven Spielberg, “War Horse”
  2. Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
  3. Michel Hazanivicus, “The Artist”
  4. Stephen Daldry, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
  5. Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
  6. Clint Eastwood, “J. Edgar”
  7. David Fincher, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  8. Bennett Miller, “Moneyball”
  9. Terrence Malick, “Tree of Life”
  10. Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
  11. George Clooney, “The Ides of March”
  12. David Cronenberg, “A Dangerous Method”

BEST ACTOR:

  1. George Clooney, “The Descendants”
  2. Leonardo di Caprio, “J. Edgar”
  3. Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
  4. Jean Dujardain, “The Artist”
  5. Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
  6. Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
  7. Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
  8. Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
  9. Johnny Depp, “The Rum Diary”
  10. Woody Harrelson, “Rampart”
  11. Christoph Waltz, “Carnage”
  12. Thomas Horn, “Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close”
BEST ACTRESS:
  1. Viola Davis, “The Help”
  2. Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
  3. Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
  4. Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
  5. Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha May Marcy Marlene”
  6. Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
  7. Keira Knightley, “A Dangerous Method”
  8. Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
  9. Felicity Jones, “Like Crazy”
  10. Noomi Rapace, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  11. Kirsten Dunst, “Melancholia”
  12. Kristin Wiig, “Bridesmaids”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
  1. Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
  2. Albert Brooks, “Drive”
  3. Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
  4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The March of Ides”
  5. Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”
  6. John Hawkes, “Martha May Marcy Marlene”
  7. Brad Pitt, “Tree of Life”
  8. Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
  9. Niels Arestup, “Warrior”
  10. Alan Rickman, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
  11. Armie Hammer, “J. Edgar”
  12. Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  1. Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
  2. Sandra Bullock, ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
  3. Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
  4. Judi Dench, “J. Edgar”
  5. Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
  6. Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
  7. Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”
  8. Evan Rachel Wood, “The Ides of March”
  9. Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
  10. Carey Mulligan, “Shame”
  11. Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”
  12. Marion Cotillard, “Midnight in Paris”
So, who are you rooting for? 🙂

Posted October 16, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

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