Monday, January 23, 2017

TV Drama Review: Korean Series Only You

You know that your personality and reality plus your types are far from the character you watch on TV. However, you still hook to start and finish it.  This what I felt in the first and second time I watched Korean series Only You starring Han Chae Young (Cha Eun-jae), Jo Hyun Jae (Han Yi Joon), Hong Soo Hyun (Ji Soo-yeon) and Lee Chun Hee (Jung Hyun-sung).
It was 2005 when it was aired by ABS-CBN in the Philippines.  Since I am familiar with Han Chae Young thanks to “Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang” (GMA) and Jo Hyun Jae because Gumiho: Forbidden Love and Love Letter (GMA), thus I am sort of interested already when I saw it’s teaser.

Review of Only You:

I would admit that the kind of Han Yi Joong’s love for Cha Eun-jae is cute for me. He has this crazy direction in life because of his undying love for the woman he slept with years ago in Italy.  That’s amusing because in nature, he has reserved persona and focusing on rebuilding the business left by his mother.  It’s just weird that even if he’s rich and intelligent, he’s insecure and no power whenever Cha Eun-jae was around.  I believe Jo Hyun Jae gave good performance here.
That’s how this Only You charmed me, but if I’m going to be a critic –this is just any ordinary romantic drama. It has clichés and annoying factors like…

Han Chae Young and Cha Eun-jae 

Han Chae Young is one the beautiful and charming Koreans I know. Though she had to wear casual clothing and boring uniform in the series, she still beautiful and charming for me. However in the acting side, she looked pale and uninterested in life. I don’t know if in real life she has scoliosis, but she looked sick because of her slow movements.  Even when she had to show strong emotion, it’s still ineffective somehow because lack of expressions. Unless the direction and the script wanted her to become boring one after her struggle in Italy.   But hey, do chefs in the kitchen are wish washy?

On the other hand,   Cha Eun-Jae had inconsistent and difficult character in the first place. In the first few episodes when she still the idealistic one and ready to conquer world, we see the enthusiastic girl.  The world turned upside down when she got pregnant and forced to raise her son alone.  Good thing, even her career and mother downed her, she found a knight in shining armor in the person of Jung Hyun-sung.  What I really can’t understand in her persona was you see the same person, but she’s doing things beyond her personality.  I am annoyed whenever she found difficult in situations that it’s only her decisions that made those hard.  And here’s the thing, she blamed all her misfortunes to Han Yi Joon.   Perhaps, this character becomes good if interpreted much better. Choi Ji woo?

 The parts of Soo-Yeon and Hyun-sung were the typical one-sided lovers.  Their personas are predictable once you already know their types and can do.  Unfortunately, they started as pathetic and ended as losers.

Meantime, the other supporting cast member are good especially the parents of Cha Eun-Jae (Jung Won-joong and Song Ok-sook) and son (Lee Byung Joon). They give extra flavors in this drama produced by SBS.

Rating: 3/5 stars 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Movie Review: Sunday Beauty Queen part 2

In the first part of my Movie Review of Sunday Beauty Queen, the first documentary film ever in Metro Manila Film Festival, I enumerated why it's an investment or worthy of your money to watch it. In this part, its 3 compelling reason why it's worthy of your time?

  • You will wait for months or years before you watch another movie like this. What makes Sunday Beauty Queen (SBQ) special from other films, especially among 2016 MMFF entries, is definitely a non-fiction story.  You will cry not because the artists insinuate dramatic feelings, but because the subjects touch your heart.  You also don't have to be an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) or domestic helper in Hong Kong to feel its heartwarming stories.

·         It features you, your relatives' and your culture- the lifestyle of Filipinos is indeed dynamic with the advent of social media, changes in politics, and various crazes. But if you think you are working to earn money wherever you are. Well this movie will remind you that you are probably not. Like hundred thousand OFWs, it's natural for us to think first of our love, our family, and our hope. We struggle in life here or abroad, but we don't lose hope and we fight till the last ounce of our energy.  This what Rudelyn Acosta’s (If I am not mistaken) story, which tells that she went to Hong Kong to work, but was terminated by her employer and bounced back. Luckily, she finds a new kind and supportive employer.

·         It makes your movie time a pleasure with purpose- I am self-confessed mild cinephile and moviegoer.  I, myself, cherish my movie time as it takes me away from my stress and boredom. Watching Sunday Beauty Queen, cut my long hours of researching or reading OFWs stories, Hong Kong, and beauty contest/ event organizing.  The shots are not typically shaky, stiff, and artificial.  IMHO, the blend of artistic approach and docus of Mylyn JacoboLeo SelomenioCherrie Mae Bretana, Acosta, and Hazel Perdido is just right.  I commend that they also edited it well that you get ample amount of details of the 5 subjects.  You know, we see a lot movies about beauty pageant, OFWs, and nannies but not like this. It's not interpretation of the director or creation of the writer.

·         It provokes you to think who are as an employer or employee.  The late Jack Soo, a Hong Kong filmmaker who employed Jacobo, commented that perhaps their country couldn’t stand without the help of DHs from Philippines.  Well, not all employers are appreciative like him or supportive like Acosta’s new employer. Just like us, Filipinos, some us may probably treat our “kasambahay” or employees not well because of our self-centered demeanor. We neglect that they also have own concerns that we don’t necessarily to shoulder, but hopefully understand.  On the other hand, being employed means sacrificing our other self.  Hazel is a single mom and IT graduate, but she has to bear the demands of her work in Hong Kong to provide for her family.  Joining beauty pageants may give her diversion, but every day for six days of her life for so many years make her joy the domestic helper mom.

These are only four of the instant reason I could think about why Sunday Beauty Queen is worthy both your time and money. Mabuhay sa lahat ng  manggagawang Pinoy

Monday, January 2, 2017

Movie Review: Vince and Kath and James

What if Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto won the best actor and the best actress trophies in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night because of their portrayals in Vince and Kath and James?  I guess that’s really remarkable, hindi lamang baka ito ang first acting awards nila o dahil bata sila, kundi dahil oo mahuhusay na artista at pelikula ang kanilang nakalaban.

The weak sides of Vince and Kath and James

Actually wala naman akong halos makitang flaws sa kaisa-sang movie na produced by a major film outfit (Star Cinema) na ito sa 2016 MMFF.  In fact, tama nga iyong suggestion ng friend ko na mahirap din naman paglaba-labanin ang acting ng mga artista na nasa magkakaibang genre. Dapat magkaiba ang nanalo sa best actress sa comedy,  drama, at musical.

·         It has the usual rom-com formula – Naiiba ang VKJ ngayon  dahil sa variety ng klase ng mga 2016 MMFF entries.  However compare to other romantic comedy films it has a minimal chance na mag-shine especially na napaka-predictable ng story. Note:  Alam ko lang na may pinagbasehan ito (online  series Vince and Kath) pero di ko  nabasa o alam ‘yon.

·          Ronnie Alonte and Ina Raymundo – I don’t think walang edge ang characters nina Ronnie (James) at Ina (Vince’s Mom) para hayaan o 'wag nilang ibigay ang kanilang makakaya. Ang maiisip ko lang na  magandang excuse dito ay bago pa lang si Ronnie.  Si Ina magaling naman sa ibang acting  gig n’ya like sa The Millionaire’s Wife (GMA) pero dito ang napahanga n’ya lang ako na na-maintain n’ya pa rin ang kanyang seksing pangangatawan ( inggit lang hehehe). Pero sayang talaga yung roles nila dahil mahahalaga sa kabuuan ng movie. Ang bago-bago ng dating pero pagdating sa acting kanila para akong nanonood ng isang old film.  Kay Ina,  okay naman s'ya dun  sa ilang eksena n’ya with Josh sa restaurant pero the rest waley lalo na sa school.  Bigay na bigay pa naman si Joshua dun.

The strong sides of Vince and Kath and James

·         Joshua Garcia - this is just the second time na mapanood ko si Joshua. Na-introduce s’ya sa akin ng movie nina Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, ang Barcelona: A Love Untold.  Doon pa lang ay trip ko na ang acting n’ya na maloko pero kapag tinamaan ng kadramahan, maaantig ka rin.   Nadala n’ya yong ganoong feel sa character niyang si Vince in a right and effective way.  Ang kulit-kulit n’ya pero hindi siya nakakabuwiset, kundi hahanap-hanapin mo kasi iyon ang nagpapakulay ng mag-hapon mo.  Tapos kapag nalaman mo yung kwento n’ya mas mapapalapit s’ya sa  puso mo. Kasi sa askyon  at paraan n’ya ng pananalita ay parang ang lapit ng loob n’ya sa iyo.  Hindi ko alam kung ganoon talaga ang pagkakahulma sa original version ni Vince pero magaling ang portrayal dito ni Joshua.  Gusto ko ang scene n'ya sa school at nung nalaman na ni Kath yung totoo na siya ang ___ n’ya :p

By the way, may hinahambing siya kay John Lloyd Cruz.  IMHO, maaaring meron pero kurot lamang at baka sa kahawig pero mas nakikita ko s’ya as siya talaga. May potensyal itong batang ito at sa mga  male young stars na nabigyan  ng makulit na role, s'ya pa lang yung malakas ang dating sa akin.

·         Julia Barretto – ito naman ang unang pagkakataon na mapanood ko si Julia pero siempre aware ako sa background n’ya. Kung may kumukwestyon man noon sa kanyang pag-arte, hindi ko sila pinaniwalaan at paniniwalaan lalo na ngayon.  Ang kanyang pagganap bilang Kath ay hindi naman sobrang level up kumpara sa ibang young stars (pa) PERO she can deliver at ito pa lang ata ang major role na nasungkit n’ya.  Noong una medyo nahihirapan ako na tanggalin sa isipan ko na parang Claudine Barretto din. Pero bilang Kath nailalabas niya sa kanyang  pagganap na "hey, I am Julia Barretto and this is how I portray my role.  

·         I like the settings/ locations – Nakarating na ako sa Maginhawa Food Park, pero parang gusto ko na sugurin soon ang Commonwealth Food Park. Gusto ko ang arte ng #Feels Café que totoo iyon oo tsika lang sa film na ito. Gusto ko rin ang pagka-ragged sa Tessy feeds chuvaness, aura sa School façade, at talyer ng tito daw ni Kath.

      Maris Rascal -  May pagka-common din ang role ni Maris sa film.  Alam mo yung Kikay na babae na nagkataon na kaibigan na minsan kairita. Pero  sa version ni Maris at sa kanyang pagganap, ang nakakatuwa at nakakatawa. Parang  kapag nagkataon na nagkagustuhan sila ni Vince, boboto rin ako e.

·         Cool yung visual effects and cinematography - Bago kami nanood ay medyo kinondisyon ko na  baka medyo boring iyong palitan ng text.  Sorry di ko ugali ang magbasa ng text ng iba, charrot! Pero hindi naman pala, cool and artistic naman ang visual presentation kasama na ang looks, background, and graphics.