Friday, August 29, 2008

DAYO - Pinoy Animation [news]


After Urduja, there would be another Pinoy full-length animated movie; DAYO is an animated movie which is one of the entries to the 34th Metro Manila Film Festival. Created by Cutting Edge Productions, written by Artemio Abad Jr. and Eric Cabatug, and directed by Robert Quilao, and features the voices of Michael V, Pokwang, Noel Trinidad, Johnny Delgado, Peque Gallaga, Nova Villa, Laurice Guillen, and the main characters are voiced by Nash Aguas and Katrina Michelle Legaspi. You can find the trailer for this movie on youtube and on their website [www.dayomovie.com] Anybody who has ever been familiar with my column and my site knows that I usually hate the Metro Manila Film Festival because of the many awful Pinoy movies made by the same old directors and producers. BUT--- DAYO endeavors to be different, promises to break the stereotype and promises to be a movie to be proud of. The movie prides itself with being the first all-digital, full-length animated feature film. But actually, being one of the many people who have already been desensitized by the many CGI animated movies, it is not the visuals that impressed me about this movie. What impressed me is its plot. You see, the story seems to center upon the friendship of a boy and a manananggal girl. The concept alone of having a manananggal take on the shoes of the standard "Disney-type leading-lady princess" tells you that this movie wants to break the rules and give us something refreshing to see. For a Pinoy cartoon, this is a far leap from what Urduja was. Although I can sense from the trailer that there is a "Disney storyline template" around there somewhere, I can also sense that this movie injects as much Pinoy elements in this movie as it can. Anyway, injecting the Disney templates seems fair considering that Pinoy animation is still at its infancy stage and still has to gather a following. With what I can see from its trailers and its production notes, DAYO is obviously a movie worth watching when it comes out. In addition, DAYO is a giant compared to other MMFF entries (unnecessary sequels of already lousy movies, like Desperadas 2 and maligned-over-time-franchise sequel Shake Rattle & Roll X).

here is the trailer

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Superman: Reboot & Restart! [news]


Good news to Superman fans (well, the true Superman fans anyway) We'll all be rid of Bryan Singer's lousy soap opera Superman after all because the next Superman movie will be a semi-reboot a la Louis Leterrier's Incredible Hulk. The bosses at Warner Brothers have finally expressed that the Superman franchise indeed needed to be refreshed and needed to stray away from Bryan Singer's hard-on for the 1980's Superman, which was (in my opinion) corny to begin with. After the mess Singer made by making Superman not only a pathetic lovestricken emo kid, but also an illegitimate father as well, I think there is obviously no choice; either to continue on some dumb continuity or reboot the whole thing entirely and have a fresh start the way Batman Begins did. Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov has told The Wall Street Journal that the studio is going to be reintroducing Superman. We assume this will be similar to how Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk was a reboot of Ang Lee's Hulk. Here is what the article says:

Warner Bros. also put on hold plans for another movie starring multiple superheroes -- known as "Batman vs. Superman" -- after the $215 million "Superman Returns," which had disappointing box-office returns, didn't please executives. "'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Mr. Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned." "Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009," he adds. "But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all."

The article also talks about Warner Bros. adapting other DC properties over the new few years. "By 2011, Mr. Robinov plans for DC Comics to supply the material for up to two of the six to eight tent-pole films he hopes Warner Bros. will have in the pipeline by then," it says. Those projects will likely be about single characters at first, and will be darker much like The Dark Knight:

With "Batman vs. Superman" and "Justice League" stalled, Warner Bros. has quietly adopted Marvel's model of releasing a single film for each character, and then using those movies and their sequels to build up to a multicharacter film. "Along those lines, we have been developing every DC character that we own," Mr. Robinov says.

Like the recent Batman sequel -- which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far -- Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as "The Dark Knight." Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it," he says. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well.

The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.
Read the article here

This is all good news... but..."We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it" ---ha? ok, it should be cleared that there really are certain superhero characters that NEEDED to have that dark factor (like Batman, Green Lantern and maybe Wonder Woman) but characters like The Flash & Superman; it doesn't have to be "dark" in order for it to be good; it just needs to be action-packed. Superman is known best as the "boyscout" of all superheroes, we just need to see him in all-out, letzgocrazy supertapungulay action... we don't need to see him copy Batman. But as I said, this is all good news, at least we'll be rid of the lovestory-Superman, the illegitimate "Superkid", and the non-corporate Luthor. I'm hoping they take notes from SUPERMAN: THE LAST SON OF KRYPTON, it's the pilot feature of the Superman: The Animated Series which, for me, is THE BEST interpretation of the Superman origin, one wherein they could easily throw in Brainiac as the main villain.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)


CLONE WARS: JUST SOMETHING YOU'VE SEEN BEFORE
By Reymundo Salao


There is actually a Clone Wars animated mini-series which (was shown in Cartoon Network some years ago, and) generally consists of 2 volumes. This series happens after Episode 2, and before Episode 3. The Clone Wars movie happens in between volumes 1 and 2 of the animated Clone Wars mini-series.

The story takes place during the Clone Wars when the forces of the Republic, with the aid of the Jedi Knights at their side are at war against the Separatists led by Count Dooku and a shadow leader; Darth Sidious. The story centers upon Obiwan and Anakin who must rescue the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt. They have to do this in order to negotiate and ally with Jabba the Hutt whose control in the Outer Rim of the Galaxies might be instrumental to succeeding in this Clone War.

This movie was kiddie action eye candy, it may have a satisfactory entertainment value, but it still is nothing more than a cartoon packaged for children. When the first three Star Wars movies came out (the first in 1977 and the last was in 1983) this space mythology trilogy made history and pretty much was, the “Lord of the Rings” of its time. But then when Lucas went back to continuing the Star Wars saga with his prequels (that began in 1999), Lucas seem to have forgotten about his real fanbase and concentrated on making the Star Wars movies just a vehicle to attract a wider market, something that proved that the shallowness of the prequel trilogy was just a way to advertise the merchandising that went with Star Wars (from shirts, to action figures, to DVDs). It seems that he didn’t take the original storyline seriously anymore. We’ve had a kiddie Anakin Skywalker, a silly old Jar-jar Binks, and too many artificially animated characters. Why the hell did he have to make Anakin the central “kid-appealing” hero if he was to become a villain in the end of the prequel series anyway (which happens in Episode 3)? It’s like an irresponsible way of writing fiction for children. To the eyes of his kiddie fans, there would be a sort of justification for being him becoming evil at the end.


By now, Lucas has already used up all the remaining little love I have left for the Star Wars saga. He has drained out what used to be my ardent sense of geekery for the franchise. By now, every time I see any prequel character my blood boils with annoyance reminding me how dumb and disposable the prequel episodes were and diminished the reputations of the series’ own fanbase into some kind of Mickey Mouse club for space alien power rangers.

The filmmakers might justify that this movie was made for children. But we’ve seen really fine animated movies from Hollywood lately such as “The Incredibles” and “Finding Nemo” which did not have to resort to lazy scriptwriting just to push the alibi that this was “made for kids”. The movie also seems to have radically deviated from what already has been part of Star Wars consistency. I wasn’t very fond of the World War 2 type radio intro at the beginning of this movie, that was just pure corny. Even the introductory theme song was altered and the new one sounds silly. There also have been violated and altered storylines here which would not be very consistent with the other Star Wars movies. You have an Anakin who has a Padawan, and we also find a Jabba the Hutt who isn’t really much of a badguy after all. All these details that add to the idea that this series is going to the “forgettable cartoons” category. The idiotic circle is now complete; this is not star wars anymore.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Postponing Harry Potter 6 & the Apology that went with it [news]


Harry Potter: Half-Bad Trip over the news

The sixth Harry Potter movie -Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince- was originally planned for a UK and US release on November 21, 2008, but on August 14, 2008, it was announced that the release date for the film was to be pushed back to July 17, 2009. The decision has been met with many complaints from the fandom of Rowling's highly popular franchise and Warner Bros. CEO Alan Horn has responded with the following;

Many of you have written to me to express your disappointment in our moving "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to Summer 2009.

Please be assured that we share your love for Harry Potter and would certainly never do anything to hurt any of the films. Over the past 10 years, we have nurtured and protected each film, and the integrity of the books upon which they are based, to the best of our ability.

The decision to move "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was not taken lightly, and was never intended to upset our Harry Potter fans. We know you have built this series into what it is, and we thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support.

If I may offer a silver lining: there would have been a two-year gap between "Half-Blood Prince" and the much-anticipated first part of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which opens in November 2010.

So although we have to wait a little longer for "Half-Blood Prince," the wait from that film until "Deathly Hallows" will be less than 18 months. I am sorry to have disappointed you now, but if you hold on a little longer, I believe it will be worth the wait.

Alan Horn
President, Chief Operating Officer
Warner Bros.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Urduja


URDUJA: A SINGLE STAR FOR EFFORT
By Reymundo Salao


Last week, URDUJA was re-screened in one of our local moviehouses. Urduja is a Pinoy animated film adaptation of the legend of the warrior princess Urduja of Pangasinan. Set in the 13th century, the film is a fictionalized tale of Princess Urduja, the only daughter of Lakanpati, chieftain of the Tawilisi tribe of Central Luzon, Urduja grew up a warrior, able and willing to defend her people from their rival tribe, the Batyaws. Lakanpati's age and failing health give rise to the urgency of finding a man, for the princess to marry, who will lead the tribe as new chieftain.

The man Lakanpati considers most eligible to become Urduja's husband is Simakwel, a Taliwisi warrior whom the princess dislikes. Later on, Urduja meets Limhang, a chinese pirate on the run from Imperial warriors led by Wang. Urduja immediately falls in love with the stranger Limhang. This worries Lakanpati and drives Simakwel into madness. Afraid of losing both the crown and Urduja, Simakwel does everything to drive Limhang away from his dream. Eventually, Limhang's good deeds and genuine kindness win the respect and trust of the Taliwisi tribe. But things get far more complicated when Wang finds out the whereabouts of Limhang and the tribe he fell in love with.

Too bad I was not able to write an article (for The Guardian) in advance that helped promote the movie. I actually was writing a review for this movie when it first came out (June 18, 2008), but wasn’t able to submit the article because of the Typhoon Frank flood. The film really is an admirable effort. With today's standards of feature-length animated features, it is understandably not as dazzling visually. URDUJA is a mixture of 2-D animation and computer graphics animation, which makes the eye candy experience moderately satisfied. The quality reminds me of Ferngully, an animated movie from way long ago. The charm of the movie is that its humor is really Pinoy. I found myself really laughing out loud at the jokes done by such characters as Kukut the rat and Tarsir the tarsier, voiced by Michael V. and Allan K. respectively. The lead characters Urduja and Limhang were also pulled off without making them look foolish or devoid of audience sympathy.

The only clear bad thing I could conjure up about it is that it follows the Disney "Princess Cartoons" template. It has the essentials of that template: The strong princess looking for love, the hunky anti-Prince-Charming villain, the witty hero, the animal friends, and the scary villain, & they all have their character theme songs too. The makers of this thing should have thought of something original for a change. Last year, an Iranian movie entitle PERSEPOLIS made waves internationally because of its well-written story and distinct sense of originality… and it did not require expensive animation. I cannot help but point out that URDUJA should have at least made this film a bit more original than the usual crap we see regularly. It was a bit upsetting later on after my bits of research when I found out that the REAL legend of Urduja was different from this cartoon version, and that the story of Urduja was far more interesting, far more thrilling than this. It was sad and obvious that the story seemed to have been intentionally altered in order to have it conform to a more Disney-movie format.

Urduja is satisfactory; it may have some shortcomings and minor little flaws, but it really is an enjoyable movie worth watching. At least it's the kind of Pinoy animated movie we cannot be ashamed of.

Friday, August 15, 2008

CORALINE coming February 2009


Neil Gaiman's Novella "CORALINE" comes to the big screen

Neil Gaiman fans have something really nice to look forward to next year. CORALINE is being adapted into a stop-motion animated film, and is set to be released in theaters on February 6, 2009. BIG QUESTION though is if it would be released in Iloilo Cinemas... hopefully it will.

CORALINE is the story of a young girl who unlocks a mysterious door in her new home, and enters into an adventure in a parallel reality. On the surface, this other world eerily mimics her own life--though much more fantastical. In it, Coraline encounters such off-kilter inhabitants as the morbidly funny Miss Forcible and Miss Spink, and a counterfeit mother--who attempts to keep her. Ultimately, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home.

Dakota Fanning will star as the voice of Coraline. Teri Hatcher will lend her voice to the roles of both Coraline's Mother and her Other Mother. Ian McShane will voice Mr. Bobinski, a beet-eating Russian giant who lives upstairs from Coraline in her alternate reality. The soundtrack will be provided by the rock group They Might Be Giants. A new featurette with some behind-the-scene footage of Coraline has appeared online courtesy of IGN Movies.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Political Lessons from The DARK KNIGHT [article from Philippine Daily Inquirer]


The (very) many who have already watched (more than once for others) this year's biggest movie "The Dark Knight" know for a fact that this movie is more than meets the eye. Here is an article from the Philippine Daily INQUIRER that talks about the Political Lessons of "The Dark Knight".

The article was contributed by NiƱa Terol who is Team RP’s vice chairperson for internal affairs. She sometimes imagines herself to be Rachel Dawes—without the tragic ending. She wrote this article originally for the Young Public Servants website. here is an excerpt as Terol writes: "Harvey Dent...Gotham’s fearless, charismatic new district attorney is the ultimate tragedy of human potential... This is what happens when we depend on one person to be our Messiah. People are people — even in this age of celebrities, icons, and “modern-day heroes” — and they will slip, or slide, or sink (sometimes very, very low). When we pin all our hopes on just one person — or one entity or one ideal — the results can be tragic. The solution is to empower everyone to be the source of the solution, which, ironically is what The Joker attempted to do in the hospital and ferry scenes — regardless of his twisted definition of the “solution”.

A certain Kenn then comments below "i’m actually currently trying to persuade my teachers in highschool and prof’s in college to use the Dark Knight as some sort of a topic for Lit papers and the sorts for their students. Finally people know how deep Batman really goes instead of the guy who was known for his bat nipples"

The brief article is a great read, maybe some of you may not have noticed it, but the film actually has had many subplots and lessons to ponder on. That's why at its 4th weekend, it still reigns number one at the box-office.

CLICK HERE to read the full article from the Philippine Daily INQUIRER

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The ECHO - The SIGAW Remake


ECHOING SIGAW: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD REMAKE OF SIGAW
By Reymundo Salao


Some years ago (2004 actually), I watched this Pinoy horror movie entitled “SIGAW” which proved me wrong about Pinoy horror movies. This movie was so good, so creepy, so original, that it got international attention; a special award from the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, a festival trophy from the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, Los Angeles, California, USA, (and numerous other awards) and it was picked up for a Hollywood remake, with the director himself Yam Laranas onboard (and actress Iza Calzado who will also be among the Hollywood cast). Yam Laranas is one of the very few Pinoy mainstream filmmakers who really have genuine filmmaking talent, it seems that everybody else in the Tagalog movie scene who have talent in filmmaking are either retired, into indie filmmaking, or obviously are simply just never hired by the reigning big production companies of the country. Everybody else on the mainstream scene (from writers, to directors, to producers) seem to be talentless hacks who follow very unprofessional very gay instincts in making films (either make a movie around a current showbiz gossip or ripping off Hollywood ideas, just like the A-holes who make those big budgeted sci-fi-fantasy ignorant films shown in the Metro Manila Film Fest).

SIGAW, which is retitled in its international release as The ECHO (title translation intentionally altered to avoid confusion with the US horror film “Scream”) was picked up by Vertigo Entertainment, acquired the rights from Regal Entertainment. Vertigo previously was behind successful remakes including "The Ring", "The Grudge", and "The Departed". Vertigo's Roy Lee and Doug Davison with Shintaro Shimosawa and Tyler Mitchell are the producers of The ECHO. The $5 million budget is fully financed by Robert Hoff, a leading venture capitalist with Crosspoint Venture Partners, who puts up coin through his new company RightOff Entertainment. Hoff and Bernt both take exec producer credits.

The ECHO has already made its World Premiere in the Fantasia Festival ’08 in Montreal and was also at the Cannes Film Market last May. And ever since that time, it has received numerous praises. Jay Seaver, E-Film Critic stated “Laranas is very cognizant that ghosts are far from the only frightening thing in the movie: His portrayal of domestic violence is just as disquieting”. Lance Curtis of Beyond Hollywood states “The Echo certainly comes as a surprise to even those horror fans who claim to have seen everything. The film manages to be both artistic and terrifying. A rare and strangely powerful combination. Both art-house and commercial, both subtle and shocking — but one thing it certainly is — it’s a gem of a ghost story”. It would probably be just a matter of time before a distributor will pick it up and finally set an international release date.

So wait a minute… Why have many of us Filipinos not heard of this news? Why have we not heard the local channels talk about this upcoming big deal of a Pinoy-meets-Hollywood movie? Sure, we have heard one station talking about it, but that was a year ago, and they were focusing on Iza Calzado rather than the film project itself (not that I have anything against Calzado, she’s a magnificent actress) or the Pinoy director behind it. You see… THIS is what I hate about the local “Entertainment News” scene… there is actually NONE. What exists is just “Showbiz and Gossip” …Nobody talks about the movies; instead they talk about the gossip around the movies, and the moneymaking that producers are concerned of. This is why serious cinema in our country doesn’t really improve that easily; it’s because even the media is teaching people that a movie is good for as long as there is some sort of gossip that surrounds it. If it’s just a good movie without gossip—according to these A-holes--- it’s not worth talking about. It is actually upsetting to find that here is a kababayan who has actually achieved something great for our country---And the self-centered people behind the two big media organizations of this country couldn’t give a break from talking about which teen star has a crush on which teen star--- and give some time to let the Filipinos out there know about this upcoming Hollywood remake, so that NOW, at this time, while it’s early on, we can start spreading the word so that by the time it hits cinemas, everybody will be rallying in support of a kababayan. So remember this movie… The ECHO, directed by Yam Laranas, stars Iza Calzado with several other Hollywood actors and actresses. It’s coming soon.

The New Wonder Woman & the Justice League Movie pushing through


There were some rumors a few months back that the productions for the Justice League movie were not going through, what with all the bad reactions from people in the internet, reasonably thinking that it's just a bad idea to make such a film without having its main characters establish themselves first with their own movies. Obviously, it's just not right to mix the magnificently grounded-on-reality Batman created by Nolan with the universe of Justice league, and the Superman that Bryan Singer made was just too gay to work with, most especially one expected to progress into a Justice League Superman.

But news broke out this week that the production for JUSTICE LEAGUE movie was pushing through after all. And its director George Miller (not to be confused with Frank Miller) revealed that Wonder Woman will be played by Megan Gale. She is an australian actress and supermodel. She appeared in the movies Vacanze di Natale and Stregata Dalla Luna. She also won a cameo part in the 2005 movie Stealth where she played a role as Dr. Orbit's secretary.

While this project (or any Wonder Woman movie) is still maybe more than 2 or 3 years from now, we can enjoy with the upcoming release of the straight to video animated feature of WONDER WOMAN. This project comes from the same people behind the successful straight-to-video animated feature "Batman: Gotham Knights" Wonder Woman will be voiced by Kerri Russel, and will also feature voices of Nathan Filion as Steve Trevor, Virginia Madsen as Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta; Rosario Dawson as Diana's Amazon rival Artemis; and Alfred Molina as Ares, the film's villain.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Will The Dark Knight sink Titanic from the all-time box office records?


Joker: It's not about the money!

People are still lining up for The DARK KNIGHT because it’s not only the best superhero movie; it has already become one of the best movies (of any category) of all time. At almost three hours of running time, it feels like watching three great movies at the same time. The movie has garnered an almost flawless number of high reviews, just feel free to surf the web and see the unbelievable number of critics giving it solid thumbs-up ratings. The Dark Knight has officially crossed the $400 million mark for domestic sales. What's more, the highly praised sequel hit the mark in only 18 days of release, something which took the previous record holder Shrek 2 a total of 43 days to accomplish. The holder before that was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which took 45 days. With the $6.2 million the film earned on its 4,266 theaters Monday, the film is currently sitting at $400.0 million for its domestic gross. The movie already has broken several domestic box-office records, including the biggest single-day of all time for its first day in theaters ($67.2 million); biggest opening weekend ($158.4 million) and fastest to $200 million (five days). Big question is if The Dark Knight will indeed sink the Titanic on box-office records..? Well, it would give us a more peaceful sleep at night knowing that the highest grossing movie is The Dark Knight and not some “wee-wee ihi-sa-pantalon” movie like Titanic (According to the rating of highest grossing films as adjusted for ticket price inflation, Titanic is only the 6th behind Ten Commandments, E.T., The Sound of Music, Star Wars, and Gone with the Wind on number 1 –yes, another “ihi-sa-pantalon” movie). Sadly, analysts say that it is unlikely that Titanic’s historically massive numbers will be beaten… but then again, the game is not over. The DARK KNIGHT is still showing across the globe. Time will tell.

THE DARK KNIGHT [2 more reviews]


The Dark Knight
by Mark Earl Yap
Radioactive Culture
[reviewed 07-20-08]
9.0 of 10
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart.
Caveat: Spoilers Ahead.


I wasn't lucky enough to catch The Dark Knight last Friday. It's just so hard to get tickets here in my area. I assume it's because the movie was mostly filmed here in Chicago. Of course, it was Heath Ledger's last film as well. But that's all behind me now since I saw it earlier this morning, and all I can say about it: awesome but unfocused.

It was everything I hoped it to be, the film was terrific. It's dark, ominous, and dirty. It portrayed Gotham and Batman with realism. Although the plot became a bit of a drag in earlier parts, it's engaging and chaotically fun in its entirety. So why do I say it's unfocused? Well, there's just too many characters and things going on in the film.

First, there's The Joker. Heath Ledger, I'm afraid, played him too damn good. Too good that he stole the whole show. He's psychotic, sadistic and anarchistic but still retains a wicked sense of humor. His mannerism, the way he licks his lips, made him even more sinister and memorable. Every scene I remember from the film was The Joker's, not Batman's. But since The Joker is the other half of Batman, it's okay for him to take half of the spotlight.

In addition, Harvey Dent also stole a bit of the spotlight from Batman. Bruce Wayne, weary of wearing the mantle of Batman, wanted to pass the torch to Dent as Gotham's unmasked hero. So he downplayed Batman's role and put much more importance in Dent's achievement. But it was later in the film, when his Two-Face persona emerged, that he really became a minor nuisance to me. I just felt that Two-Face kind of splintered from the main plot and became a minor story arc in the film.

Overall, The Dark Knight is a sterling comics-to-film adaptation. The plot is great. Heath Ledger's take on The Joker is exemplary. Batman's getting more mature and learning to do what is necessary. I would watch it again if I could. I would've given it a perfect 10 if not for the film having two villains. It was just too small to contain two baddies in one movie. Especially if the other one is as big as The Joker.


The DARK KNIGHT
by Jinki Beldia
rating: 5 stars
[reviewed: 07-22-08]


Here's one from a self-confessed dunce when it comes to anything Batmanish. Weeks before the showing of The Dark Night, the boys could not stop talking about it. As usual, I would be flipping the Life and Arts pages of Financial Times, partly refusing to listen to the all-nighter gabfest, and partly (honestly!) not understanding half the things they were saying. I should say I was not at all thrilled by what I knew I would see on the boys' itinerary for the month, and yet I was well aware that when it would be time to flip the coin, I would (once again) lose my chance to choose the movie for the weekend. You see, it's always boys versus girls in the house. If you do the math, you know those mommah feel good movies have very little chance in making it to the movies-for-the-month list. Boys versus girls. My other selves never back me up on this area.

It was a queue that ended at the other side of the planet. Plus, the ticket prices would have left me half paralyzed if not for Cole's beautiful smiling face, promising me heaven and earth and no more hiding when it's study time. These promises would usually last for 30 minutes after the movie but this time...the Dark Night effect continues to be potent.

Joker to Batman: "You complete me". Now I get it.

This has been the most human Batman has ever been presented with the psychotic side of him flaunted, perfectly matching that of Joker's. Heath Ledger, I must insist, was born to embody this character that would leave you hating and loving, but mostly loving, it. The Batman-Joker-Gordon triumvir was huge. The first few minutes into the movie did not require me to know which character to like, which one to ditch, which one to simply ignore.

It was riproaring, and for a non-Bat like me, it sure had a welcoming effect. Gotham was more real this time. I have always had the penchant for Dark City but Gotham had always failed to thrill me for the past 32 years of my life. That's something about me that continues to puzzle Alex (that and 30 million other things about me).

Perhaps if Gotham would still be this real the next time another Bat would hit town, I would already be confessing eternal love for it.

Ledger nailed it. Bale nailed it. Nolan most definitely nailed it. I'm in love.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Venom's Movie & Spider-man IV !!! [news]


Sony is moving forward with Venom, a potential "Spider-Man" spinoff, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The trade says the studio is developing the project, based on the villain who appeared in Spider-Man 3 and is hoping the character could serve as an antidote to the aging "Spider-Man" franchise in the way that Fox has used Wolverine to add longevity to its "X-Men" franchise.

The studio had commissioned a draft of the script from Jacob Estes (Mean Creek), but the studio is considering going in a different direction from Estes' script and is seeking writers for a new draft. Casting also is no simple matter. Topher Grace played the character in the film, but agents have been eyeing the role for their clients, as Sony is not yet convinced the actor can carry a tentpole picture. The Hollywood Reporter adds that neither Sony nor Marvel would comment for the story.

Sony is also still developing a fourth "Spider-Man" film for 2011.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor


THE MUMMY 3: NO NEED TO PUT IN THE LONG TITLE
By Reymundo Salao

The Mummy franchise is like Indiana Jones' video game influenced teenage brother; kinda immature and senseless, but knows how to have a really enjoyable time. It was dazzling to see our heroes go to the Orient this time, and meet dragons, yetis, and alluringly beautiful Chinese ladies. The amazing special effects and creature designs here were awesome, especially when the Dragon Emperor transforms into this bull-like, ape-like mythical Chinese creature. My personal favorite were the Yetis, which actually were on the side of the good guys. If they could make a movie wherein the Yetis were the main characters and Brendan Fraser and the rest of the Mummy cast would just be the background characters, I would watch that movie.


Jet Li plays the Dragon Emperor and Michelle Yeoh as the witch Zijuan did fine performances, Also in the cast is Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, who is very well known in Hongkong films playing roles in such movies as Hardboiled, and the Infernal Affairs movies (Infernal Affairs is the original movie from which The Departed was copied) plays an evil ambitious Chinese general in this movie. Then there’s the alluring actresses Jessey Meng, who still looks foxy hot even when she has a scar on her face, and Isabella Leong, whose beauty is just pure diabetes-inducing eye candy. And lastly, there was the casting of Maria Bello as Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell, a character played and really owned by Rachel Weisz. Having her replaced by Maria Bello was just awkward, Bello is actually a really good actress, but it was excruciating seeing her clumsily get into the role played by Weisz. It was not as smooth as such role transitions as Maggie Gyllenhaal in Katie Holmes’ role in The Dark Knight. Here, we had to sit through Mummy 3 and force ourselves to accept Bello for a role which was made memorable by Weisz performance.
As always, Brendan Fraser (as Rick O’Connell) whose mixture of comedy and action, and the humor of John Hannah (as Jonathan Carnahan) really make the movie fun to watch.


Director Stephen Sommers who also directed the first two Mummy movies (1999 and 2001) is a director who seems to rely too much on special effects, stunts and action sequences. Sadly, this is echoed by the new director Rob Cohen, who is, just like Sommer, a master of visual but dumb movies, having done shallow films such as XXX and The Fast & the Furious. Maybe Cohen is a little better than Sommers by one degree anyway, because this one is fun but very predictable, as if it was just blindly following the same template from the previous 2 movies. Then there’s also the action which would have been a whole lot better. If you put in action icons like Jet Li in a movie like this, your action shots should capture each and every action move. The problem with american film directors these days is that they shoot their fight scenes with handheld cams, which tend to be shaky, therefore ruining/cushioning the glorious impact of the action sequences. Don’t get me wrong, the action was indeed good, but it was lessened by lousy cinematography. In the long run, you watch this movie for the fun factor, and the humor and the comedic performances of its actors and actresses, along with the special effects, really are the saving grace of this movie, any scene that does not involve monsters or jokes really are bland. They should have just called it Mummy 3 because this movie is the kind of movie that will bore you the second time around, it is just meant to be the kind of movie played during the fiesta when everybody is busy chatting with each other and eating lunch.

This is mere disposable feel-good fun movie. Cartoonish, visceral, and funny, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is Hollywood's most “pop” summer movie entry.