Sunday, September 25, 2016

Movie Review, Reflection: Bridget Jones’s Baby starring Renee Zelleweger

The film series that I watched religiously in theaters were Harry Potter (except Goblet of Fire), Spider-Man (starring Tobey Maguire), and Kill Bill (Uma Thurman).  What I always forget is I also complete Bridget Jones’s Diary series top billed by Renee Zellweger.  I only realized this personal fact after I saw the long overdue Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016), which is the follow up of Bridget Jones’s Diary: Edge of Reason (2004)See the gap?

I was too young when the first two installments were released in theaters. I like those films because of the British accents, funny scenes, leading men, and the titular character of Bridget. Now I appreciate this film series (adapted from the novel series of Helen Fielding) more because it has character-driven and enjoyable romantic-comedy approaches, but full of sense. 

What remains intact in Bridget Jones’s 3rd installment

Bridget Jones’s Baby serves the same feel that I love about this film series, but with matured vibe. I still feel how romantic it is to be with someone you love. How happy it is to finally experience that you're in  a smooth sailing relationship.  And when all your fears become joys and courage in your life. 

Honestly, it’s hard not to be affected with Zellweger’s controversial look. I grow up watching her particularly in the films The Bachelor, Chicago, and Miss Potter. I miss her chubby face and curvaceous body, but you know what? As soon as you already immersed  in the world of Bridget Jones, the issue doesn't make sense. After all Renee is still Renee who embodies Bridget effectively. In fact, her look fits well with the character’s maturity (43-years old in the story).   

The differences of Bridget Jones’s Baby   

·         Patrick Dempsey as Jack Quant - I admit I don’t read the novel series so I am not aware of Jack so surprise-surprise! Compare to Daniel Cleaver (played by Hugh Grant and who’s allegedly dead in the film), Jack is an ideal man  who you’d like to be your partner and father of your baby.  He’s rich, witty, charming, and responsible. It’s insane to dump him for someone else.

      Dempsey plays well the character, however it’s something that doesn't standout. I guess, it’s because of the too-good-to-be-true persona of Jack or I always see him in goody-goody laid back roles (Sweet Home Alabama, Enchanted, and Valentine’s Day).

·         The fun sides of Being Single – Obviously, the whole film series features the struggles of being single and the fear of becoming spinster. However, this installment brings the idea that being unattached makes you enjoy meeting new people and discover other things in life. It also helps you to realize the love that you desire and its implications in your individuality.

·         Bridget Jones is also career-oriented-  It’s only now that I realize, Bridget is also a career-woman. Perhaps I was young then to notice this side of her or because it's overshadowed by the love triangle (Daniel- Bridget- Marc). Now, I appreciate this film more because it shows women at work. How they try their best to perform their duties by being adaptable and dynamic despite of their struggles.  

       I like Bridget's line "maybe when my boy is old enough to understand, integrity will be fashionable again." It’s for her young new boss who believes crazes and interesting issues overpowers old formula of news reporting.   In general, I agree with this topic because office politics, changes, and desperate needs are parts of any jobs. However, there’s something you can’t really embrace because it’s against your values. In the end, if you accept your limitations (like age and beliefs), then you know where you can draw strengths and start your way to success.   

·         On motherhood – the only unbelievable part of this movie is the confusion of who’s the father of Bridget’s baby.  In this aspect, Marc Darcy (Colin Firth)’s reaction is the sole realistic thing you can get. But despite of the roller coaster ride of the love triangle among the leads, you still feel the happiness of motherhood. Two of my favorite scenes are when Bridget hears her baby's heartbeat and when people believe that Jack and Marc are in a relationship. By the way, Emma Thompson is very cool as a doctor here.

The imperfect side of ideal man Marc Darcy – Although Marc Darcy has a stoic face and unconventional taste, he’s one of the interesting and charming movie male characters I know.  In this film, you’ll not only understand Marc’s issues with Bridget. You’ll also sympathize with Bridget’s desperation to cope up with him. You know, there are features of your man that makes him who he is or makes him extraordinary. However, those also the reasons why it’s hard to have a romantic relationship with him.   In case of Marc, he always travels and busy with his career as a barrister.  I can feel Bridget’s love and frustration on him.

 Overall, Bridget Jones’s Baby brings the light, romance, and inspiration that I love about it. It also wins in bringing new insights and perspectives when it comes to womanhood, love, and triumph in life.  Sulit!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Filipino adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher at the Power Mac Center this October

Search about American literature and it’s impossible that you would not encounter Edgar Allan Poe and his works. The prolific literary icon is known for his mind-boggling poets and short stories that includes “The Fall of the House of Usher  published in 1839.”  This year, a Filipino adaptation of it entitled #14 Leandro Road  is what  Theater House of Black will offer on October 7 and 8 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati.

Review based on sample run of 14th Leandro Road’s… 

Sa Sikat Studio Inc., napanood ko ang kalahati ng show kung saan kasama sina Harry David (Ed), Migui Moreno (creepy Rudy), Gry Gimena (crazy Anton), Marife Necessito (Dra. Lita Dumas), Pewee O’Hara (Donya Victorina), at May Bayot (Consuelo). Doon maraming ideya ang tumatakbo sa aking isipan kaya maganda itong panoorin.

       Aaminin ko na mas kilala ko si Edgar Allan Poe bilang poet at noong high school ko pa s’ya napag-aralan kaya hindi ko na maalala ang tungkol sa “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Kaya itong #14 Leandro Road ay nagbigay sa akin ng glimpse of Poe’s type of stories.  Kung estudyante ka, watching this play will also help you to understand macabre (disturbing story) and Gothic literature/ plays.  Tandaan na naiiba ang atake sa film at TV, kumpara sa teatro kaya interesante itong show.

Aaminin ko rin na matagal na akong 'di nakakapanood ng theater play, ang last ko ay Zsa Zsa Zaturnah ni Eula Valdez at Joey Paras. Bakit ko binabanggit? Hindi ako familiar sa mga theater actors na napanood ko even  Madam Pewee O’ Hara na sa panood ko pa lang ay mukhang batikan na nga.  Maganda ito in a way kasi fresh at mahuhusgahan ko ang kanilang acting base sa kanilang pagganap at hindi dahil sa kanilang reputasyon.

The standout parts

1   Play Script – hindi ko natanong kung sino ang playwright ng #14 Leandro Road at kung gaano ito ka-faithful sa orihinal (pero baka sina K.H. Dizon at Direk Jay Crisostomo IV). Pero para sa akin panalo ang dialogues at scene/ stage instructions.   Ilan sa nagustuhan kong linya (hindi ako sure kung eksaksto ang natandaan ko) ay ang mga ito:

o   Bakit ang hirap pag-usapan ng kamatayan, totoo naman ito.” Ito ang tsika ni Anton kay  Ed na asiwa na pag-usapan ang topic. 

o   Isang kahangalan ang pagsambit sa  mga bagay na hindi mo pinaniniwalan.” Sinabi ni Rudy kay Ed tungkol sa mga bagay-bagay sa bahay nila.  I agree sa kanya dahil sa ibang banda ay nag-iiwan ka ng bahagi ng iyong sarili sa ginagamit mong bagay. Halimbawa ay ang librong ipinasa mo sa ibang tao, kuwaderno na iyong sinulatan, o upuan na matagal mong ginamit.

Samantala,  maayos din ang pagkaka-establish  sa character nina Dra. Dumas (remember kalahati pa lang ang napanood ko), Donya Victorina, at Anton.  At the back of my mind ay gusto kong sabihin “Kaya hindi gumagaling si Anton may sapak din itong tumitingin sa kanya.” Hehehe!

Sa stage instruction – gusto ko iyong malikhain pagpasok at paglabas ng mga Matatandang Laperal. Kung paanong ang kanilang presensya ay matindi ang epekto sa mga nakakababatang Laperal.  Dito mas makikita ang galing ng playwright kung paano instruction blocking, pangyayari sa scenes at ibabatong linya. Siempre may say din dito ang director. Nakalimutan ko iyong pinakagusto kong part, pero kasama roon si Donya Victorina, Rudy, at Ed.  Ang naalala ko na maganda ay iyong  may “pinasayaw at binabaston,” ang “Ed’s tonight private conversation with Anton,” at alin ang mas sipa “whisky o lapad” ;)

2.       Acting of theater actors- lahat naman ay nakapag-deliver and nag-contribute, but nevertheless noticeable talaga na batikan si Pewee O’ Hara. Nandoon yung impact na “I am Donya Victorina and this is me.” Malinis na hindi OA at UA, kundi klarong in character siya.

On the other hand, na-explain ni Direk Jay Crisostomo IV na magkakaiba iyong pinanggalingan ng mga actors so may dynamics.  Dito naklaro sa akin kung bakit may something kay Marife Necessito at Gry Gimena. I don’t feel na umaarte sila sa stage as theater actors parang casual na napapadaan lang sila as Dra. Dumas at Anton.  Yung Anton ni Gry, parang dati mo lang talagang kakilala na nawala sa katinuan o nasapian. Saka in fairness sa kanya parang physically demanding iyong role.  Ito naman kay Marife ay may comedic timing.

Okay din naman sina Migui, Harry, at May.  Physically demanding din ang Rudy ni Migui. Lumalabas ang challenge sa kanya kapag may moment sila ni Pewee O’Hara o nag-aagawan ang realidad at kabaliwan sa kanyang pagtao.  Consistency naman ang maipapakita ni Harry, bahala ka kung magugustuhan mo o hindi ang kanyang pagganap. Subalit, siya iyong tipong pinangangatawanan ang kanyang ginagampanang karakter. Wala pa akong masabi masyado kay May Bayot, bukod sa maganda ang kanyang tinig. Kung tama ako baka may connect s’ya kay Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha.
Harry David as Ed

Samantala, ang alternate cast ay kinabibilangan ni Mosang (creepy Pilar), Alex Leyva (crazy Anna), at Particia Ismael (weird Dra. Lita Dumas). 

3The theme/ genre of the play - Ilan na nga ba ang napanood ko na play na may Gothic o macabre na tema?  Wala akong maalala. At ang challenge sa ganitong genre ay pagpapakita ng fantasy/ imaginary creatures. Hindi naman ito TV at film na malalapatan ng visual effects sa post production dahil on the spot kailangan maipakita sa anumang paraan sa audience ang nakaka-disturb na mga scenes. Kaya ang basic edge ng the #14 Leandro Road ay genre nga nito.

Why I Recommend it?

Direk Jay Crisostomo IV and JC Salud of Theater House of Black 
  •            An adaption of the art work of a well-known unconventional literary artist Edgar Allan Poe. Thus, good for students and literature enthusiasts

  •         The venue is at the heart of an accessible business district

  •        The dates are perfect weekend treats and art appreciation time

  •      It's time to watch an all Filipino Production with veteran and fresh Theater Artists. 

1Note: Star Powerhouse is one of the media partners of Theater House of Black for #14 Leandro Road 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Direk Brillante Mendoza at Metropolitan Museum of Manila

To date, people can’t just call Brillante Mendoza as an ordinary movie director, but a world-class and award-winning Filipino filmmaker.  It’s about time that we, as his proud kababayan, should discover first-hand his talents and products. Fortunately for the 40th anniversary of Metropolitan Museum of Manila, we’ll have the chance to know more the 2015 Cannes Film Festival’s best director (Chevalier dansl’Ordre des Arts et Lettres) from September 5 to October 1.

Direk Brillante Mendoza for me

Though we’re all too young or not yet born when movie geniuses like Lino Brocka and Ismael Bernal left this world, their artistic legacies remind us that filmmaking in the Philippines is not only for commercial and beyond entertainment purposes. For me, the proliferation of independent filmmakers nowadays continue the advocacy of Bernal and Brocka. I don’t know the struggles during their time, but we all know that it takes guts for modern indie directors to emerge in the film industry. Mendoza and his fellows don’t only compete with commercialism and piracy, but also pressured with ever-changing tastes of young moviegoers.

I believe Mendoza is distinct in the sense that he doesn’t bother with the label or bashers. He’s just  there all out to make his art and stories known. He dares to tackle in-depth social issues that perhaps even local news agencies don’t discover yet or fear to feature. Thus, it’s not surprising that most his films are critically-acclaimed such  as Foster Child (2007), Kinatay (2009), Thy Womb (2012), Taklub (2015) and Ma’Rosa (2016).  These movies are considered passion projects for mixing the aim to advocate relevant messages and the art of movie-making.
I am honored to meet and greet him in person when he received his Ani ng Dangal award at the Resorts World Manila in 2014.

Why we shouldn’t miss CineMet series: Brillante Mendoza?

CineMET series presents The Brillante Mendoza: A Contemporary Filipino Filmmaker is for limited time only. We don’t know when it will happen again so it’s a must to explore this one. On the other hand, it’s also cool because…

  • It’s free! – Since it’s MET’s anniversary, they make their all galleries admission free every Tuesday starting on September 6, 2016.  By the way, they operating hours is from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • It’s the first time! - the exhibition of Mendoza’s body of work is  “comprehensively explored within a museum exhibition context”
  •  It’s packed with a variety of programs! -  It has off-site screenings of his films (SM Mall of Asia and the Conrad Hotel), lectures, and workshops too.

(photo: Twitter/NCCA Official)
·         "The Brillante Mendoza: A Contemporary Filipino Filmmaker exhibition is curated by Prof. Leo Abaya, and supported by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), SM, Center Stage Productions, Manny O Wines, Epson Philippines, PowerMac Station, and Max's Restaurant.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Blvd,
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