filmmaking, laundry therapy, movies

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

there are movies that move you to tears and some to laughter. this one makes you scream and curse and rage and hyperventilate over the awesomenessofitall. it drives you mad. to the max. now i understand.

a lot have been said over the direction and the design (the costumes and car designs have been unanimously praised) of the movie and i agree with everything. it’s so awesome it blows my mind. the musical score and sound design were phenomenal; i especially love the visual aspect of the score pairing the army drummers onscreen with the kickass doof warrior character doing riffs on that rig, it’s insane! george miller. colin gibson. jenny beavan. junkie xl. john seale. tom hardy. charlize theron. nicholas hoult. they’re all insane!

another thing i love about it was the practical effects the director took lengths to do. it harks back to the days when cg was so low tech and most people do live effects and puppets and all to create a tangible, physical world to shoot in. i dont know if they shot in film as well (too tamad to research) but the look was just gorgeous and the effect visceral that if it were not for the 3D glasses i had on, i swear i was back in the old decripit theater downtown in my province in the 80s gawking at the fast paced road rage going onscreen.

i hate 3D but if there was anything you needed to see in 3D iMAX this year, this is it. 5/5

madmaxdesert

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movies, musings

inter-stella

watched INTERSTELLAR (2014, christopher nolan) last november 13 and never got to blog about it. for the most part, i got lazy. but maybe also because it took me a long time to recover haha so did i like it?

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i did not like it. i loved it! i just posted a list of my favorite sci-fi movies here weeks before watching and i need to revise it now. first of all, i wont start comparing it to 2001: a space odyssey because i dont think anything else can compare to that 1968 masterpiece. my cousin asked me if INTERSTELLAR reminded me of contact too. surprisingly it did not, knowing that jodi foster movie is in my list of favorites. in parts, i was more reminded of sunshine, sphere, and moon. i was mostly excited that the young murphy grew up to be jessica chastain. how awesome is that, right? i avoided reading about the movie prior to watching because im now easily dissuaded to love it esp if a lot more people are saying the movie is pretty good because i tend to be disappointed instead. the end went a bit off for me but i enjoyed the movie already too much to be bothered about it too much.

mcconaughey and chastain were great casting choices, hathaway was kinda meh. damon was a surprise. the rest of the cast were wonderful. hans zimmer’s musical score was great, as usual. on closer look, the redesigned space suits and their textures were gorgeous, courtesy of costume designer mary zophres. kudos to the design team with nathan crowley (also having worked with nolan in the batman series) as production designer, set decorator gary fettis, and art director superviser dean wolcott.

i wont bother explaining the film, in general it was pretty straightforward although carlo and i had to discuss lengthily afterwards on some things, which after doing research we were right on our presumptions. read here if you indeed wanna understand the film. the graph can get crazy but like the film, you might need to be in a certain mood to absorb the information. click on the photo below.

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musings

mmff 2014

looked forward to watching some movies in last year’s mmff mainly because i was involved in one of them. then because some of my friends were involved in other films too. our views can get biased but i could also be rather honest. here’s my two cents’ worth. dont worry, di ako mataas magscore talaga. lol.

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movie 1: SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL XV

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EPISODE 1: AHAS

casting wise, erich gonzales made a pretty ahas. in parts i liked her acting but i didnt like her swaying motions. the ahas design was good and i especially liked when dad ariel was holding the baby ahas in his arms. i didnt catch if alice dixon died or left the family, generally i just thought she was underused. i wished they could have shot in a better looking mall. i liked the cg statue. the set design of the ahas lair was pretty well made. this was one movie this year that referenced gollum’s schizofreakazoid conversations with himself. the other was kubot. writing for this could have been better actually. least favorite of the three. score 2/5

EPISODE 2: ULAM

this was the episode we were involved in. jerrold tarog directed his script written with zig marasigan. mackie galvez shot the movie with me as production designer, carlo working on costumes, and carmen on makeup and prosthetics. technically very well made and well-fleshed out script. editing was well paced and color grading was pretty and spot on. im impressed how tight dennis and carla’s performances were in the film. chanda was lovely to work with and extraordinary onscreen. i asked her to not put makeup on, i felt it would help her character. carlo built the aling lina look out of her dusters and aprons. i always hated lengthy climactic expositions. for someone who have read the script before, despite how well made it came out, i take off 1 brownie point. i love you, guys 😉 an epilogue was shot but was taken out of the final cut. also, if this was lined up as the 3rd episode, SRRXV would have been a better movie. score 3.5/5

EPISODE 3: FLIGHT 666 

i loved this episode, especially because they were able to shoot in a plane. there wouldnt really be a point shooting this material if they werent able to get that location! from the get-go, from the minute joy viado stepped into frame i got it this was a cray cray episode and i enjoyed it. silly and no logic whatsoever. you just had to enjoy it. the epilogue was totally unnecessary (SPOILER: -may isospoil pa ba ang formula films?- when rocky salumbides as a halimaw appears at the end) hence the score 3.5/5

overall, SRRXV was a surprise because i enjoyed it. and writing this “review” article is already getting me bored. moving on.

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MOVIE 2: ENGLISH ONLY PLEASE

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this was a real crowd pleaser. there were also a lot of people behind this film that are friends. i know tonette jadaone from college because she submitted a short film to our film festival competition thing at UP. i used to call her, “jada-one,” (referenced to padawans from star wars, whatever). this is a romcom but it broke all sorts of romcom formulas and although you know how it would probably end, you just smile through the movie and marvel at derek’s broad shoulders. ok, also jennylyn’s porselana skin. the writing is particularly smart and maybe it can still do a little more tweaking but it’s almost perfect. im not sure if derek should have won best actor but he was better than robin in bonifacio. sorry, robin. on hindsight, i applaud derek ramsay’s subtle acting as a fil-am business guy taking a 30 day off vacay to forget his girlfriend by flying to the philippines and hoped to blow her off with tagalog. and not sweating at all in humid weather. tonette, ano to? lol. but his accent was just right and his abs rounded it off for a rather convincing performance. whut? jennylyn was awesome in this movie. she was disarmingly cute and still smart despite being tanga in love. the design was very colorful but on another note, it looked too much like a star cinema movie and im not sure if they were aiming to be that or not. nevertheless, the design could have helped define characters more than just putting pretty colors everywhere. i am in awe that this production got to shoot in an actual SM mall. im so jealous haha generally, all the awards this film got was well deserved. score: 4/5

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MOVIE 3: KUBOT: THE ASWANG CHRONICLES

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this i looked forward to. worked on the first movie (tiktik aswang chronicles) as designer alongside peter colias (scenic designer for moulin rouge, the matrix and whatnot). this sequel went much more crazy than the first one and it was awesome. maybe the movie could have been edited a tad bit shorter and that factory sequence a bit tighter but overall it was all fun. the concept on the design was awesome. it doesnt make sense that the roof of a hut on a building’s rooftop would be made with window blinds but it worked. that gorgeous opening scene was something out of ridley scott’s prometheus! but as wonderful as the design on the kubot clan were, i was kinda perplexed on the too subtle differences the character design were for the remaining aswang clans. nevertheless, isabel looked awesome and id love to have her home’s curtains! lotlot was outstanding in this movie. congrats direk erik! kudos to ericson navarro and his art department for wining best pd and makeup, and the naked dave yu (naked in that factory scene; some things you can never unsee hahaha) for best visual effects. deserving win as well. score: 3.5/5

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MOVIE 4: BONIFACIO: ANG UNANG PANGULO

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technically this was the movie i saw first but posting last because of the picture above. lol. this movie had a lot of potential to be truly awesome. gorgeous sweeping shots, soaring orchestrations, the works. yet, sometimes, nothing can mask a rather weak script. one thing i thought of after the movie ended was that, that was it? yun lang ba dinaanan ni bonifacio sa buhay niya? it felt rather thin. and those present day sequences were unnecessary. early on in the movie, i loved the musical score. however, towards the end i started sensing a familiar motiff and then it hit me. the da vinci code! even the katipunan museum “steadicam” shot was reminiscent of that camera swoop through the louvre. nevertheless, i know von de guzman along with wildsound deserved their best music and sound design wins. special mention to carlo mendoza winning for cinematography, enhancing roy lachica’s wonderful sets. vina morales could have easily won best actress for this, i have to admit. her scenes were heartbreaking. robin, however well-intentioned, remained robin padilla, not andres bonifacio. i have to say, the controversy raised by this production was rather awkward and embarrassing. huwag na pagpilitan ang mga bagay na di naman para sa inyo. i feel tama ang pagbigay ng lahat ng mga awards this year. besides, bonifacio already reaped most of the awards. be content. honestly, because of this sourgraping, i was turned off a lot by this movie. hayy. back to regular programming. ay tapos na pala. score 2.5/5

so durr. carlo has a lot more to add but he might as well write another blog about it. i might just catch the amazing praybeyt benjamin on tv soon enough. feng shui 2 as well. i enjoyed the first one. just a sad reality (though nothing serious) for the mmff to be more of a sequel festival than showcasing original material. if the new template would be ENGLISH ONLY PLEASE, then im hoping next year wala nang sequels/prequels or rehashed formula films. dapat original material lahat. but dont hold your breath. asa ka pa. 😉 ok, quiet na ako. cheers and have a happy new year.

ps. at centrio mall in cagayan de oro, movie tickets cost only P151. that’s watching in an ayala mall cinema with awesome sound and seats! gateway cubao tickets cost us P231 per head. cinemas 6 and 7 (where srr and kubot were shown) was a much more smaller theater but had a great projector (a bit cropped though), crystal clear and bright image projection, and awesome sound system. cinema 1 (where EOP) was rather bad: dull colors, sound not as good as the other cinemas.

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filmmaking, movies, musings

PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012)

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

people lambast a movie with an adapted screenplay when it fails at capturing the essence of the original book from which it was based on. some are successful, especially if the screenplay is written by the same author of the book. what happens when the same author not only writes the screenplay but also directs the movie and does a damn good job at it? we get this.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie Stills (12)

i watched this movie this afternoon and i had to take a break just so i could process my emotions. perhaps the last time i felt this way was when i watched AMERICAN BEAUTY way back in 1999. incidentally, the novel from which this film was based on was published that same year.  PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is about misfits and wallflowers towards the end of an era in their lives dealing with issues of love, loss, sexuality and relationships. apart from chbosky’s genius, the biggest draw here are the strong performances of the three leads, logan lerman, emma watson, and ezra miller. i especially love lerman’s performance here, it’s rare to see someone so young with that gamut of emotions.

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this story was just so beautifully written it hurts. there were moments though where i had to scream, “hipster,” but the movie goes on and these characters just became real to me. love the music too, reminds me of that era when i was in college and we fell in love with everything textured and vintage, except that this movie is set a decade before this.  mixed tapes, typewriters, floral printed blouses and boots, the smiths, rocky horror picture show, slr cameras, and everything made hazy by the mist machine. it’s so gorgeous and heartbreaking and life affirming that i could only express myself by quoting ricky fitts from american beauty:

Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.

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and the only way to celebrate this is to listen to david bowie’s “heroes,” get on somebody’s truck, zip through the mandaluyong tunnel and scream, “im the king of the world.”

Right now we are alive and in this moment I swear we are infinite.

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filmmaking, movies

THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)

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this is a horror film. no ghosts, no psychopaths. no people wielding knives or chainsaws. no white ladies, no flying creatures in the night. this is a movie where mother nature wreaks havok and thousands die. this is a horror film. now watch this and thank God we live to see another day. naomi watts is fantastic. tom holland, who played her son, lucas, is A. MA.ZING. and i dont know how they shot this, it’s crazy. and amazing.

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although the event struck in southeast asia and affected more locals than tourists, this movie centers on this particular english family vacationing khao lak, thailand and not the thousands of people who lost houses, livestock, and family members. the real family that this movie was based on were actually spanish and the wife chose naomi watts to play her in the movie. a documentary about the tsunami in thailand (you can find this in youtube) showed the wave’s approach not as fast nor as crazy as it was in the film but maybe because it’s a movie. but it happened. and either way, you cant turn your head and not look.

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filmmaking, movies

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (2012)

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this is soo awesome! audrey plaza the lead actually reminded me of a friend, Ica Fernandez haha SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is a small indie movie from the makers of little miss sunshine and is about a journalist and his interns investigating a newspaper ad posted by a guy who claimed to have gone back in time.

safety not guaranteed

the whole thing feels like it used to be graphic novel by daniel clowes or something, the characters are fun and the actors are actually really good. the movie is deceptively simple but funny and lots of heart, there were scenes where i just laughed out loud (LOL would be appropriate pero i like to spell it out). rotten tomatoes actually gave this a 91% rating! the song on the sitar was really nice as well. there might be small details i would have preferred, changed or smoothened out for the ending but still, this movie rocks.

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filmmaking, movies

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012)

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watched this again two days ago with carlo on 720p. still great. i enjoyed watching this in the theaters in 3D and i still enjoyed it at home. that scene with bilbo and gollum is still winner for me even the 2nd time around. it was somewhat how i pictured the scene when i read the book years ago. it’s true that thorin is just a few baths away from aragorn, he’s too beautiful and i loved this casting right away. martin freeman is perfect as bilbo baggins. cant wait for the other two movies.

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