Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Auraeus Solito's 'Busong' is going to Cannes

A Pinoy film entitled Busong, directed by Auraeus Solito was chosen to be among the 21 feature films that will be shown during the Cannes' Directors Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival which will be held on May 11 to 22, 2011, in the resort town of Cannes, the south of France.

Festival director Frederic Boyer had this to say about the selection of the film:
"I am thinking about a film we found from Southern Philippines... that transcends the border between documentary and fiction. The film deals with animism and is very close to nature. It has been shot without any apparent wish to be selected in Cannes or to be picked by a co-producer."

Auraeus Solito directed the successful indie film "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros" (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) which was nominated for the grand jury prize in the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. Solito says that "Busong" is part of a trilogy that revolves around Palawan. It was inspired by stories that Solito’s mother told him about her native Palawan when he was a child. In an interview, he explained that “Busong” is the indigenous Palawanon concept of fate or instant karma. “What you do to nature, you do to yourself,” he said. “Busong” is set in present Palawan while the other two planned films will tackle the picturesque province’s past, “Delubyo (Deluge),” and future, “Sumbang (Origin).” “Busong” itself is composed of three segments: “Forest,” “Sea” and “Mountain.”

He recounted how “Busong,” which features a cameo by Australian actor Chris Haywood, got considered for Directors’ Fortnight. “I attended the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum where the Cannes programmers took a peek of my latest work,” Solito began. “Some of them said that they haven’t seen anything like it before. Then Jeremy, who often goes to Manila to look for potential Filipino film entries, and Frederic Boyer saw the footage. They told me to submit a DVD.”
“I only found out later that Frederic is the artistic director of the Directors’ Fortnight!” Solito revealed. “He emailed me and said, ‘I am so honored to have your unique and wonderful film. Everybody in the selection committee loves your ‘Busong.’ After we saw it, we sent the invitation to you 10 minutes afterward. We feel good and happy with it and we will celebrate ‘Busong’ very soon.’”

Solito is grateful to Cinemalaya for providing “the seed money to make this film possible.” He said that “…Maximo,” which won three awards in the Berlinale, and “Philippine Science” were also made possible by Cinemalaya. “I’m especially thankful to Nes Jardin, Laurice Guillen and Robbie Tan who have been supportive of my art all these years,” he added.

Ever proud of his tribal roots and Filipino heritage, Solito announced that when he walks on the Cannes red carpet, he will be “wearing a barong with piƱa cloth woven by my tribe. We are going all out Filipiniana.” Solito’s barong will be made by designer Oliver Tolentino, himself an acclaimed proponent of Philippine fabrics.

The last time Filipino Pride ran extremely high on Cannes was suring the 2009 Cannes Film Festival when Brillante Mendoza was honored as Best Director for his film "Kinatay". Unfortunately, that news was horribly been overshadowed here in the Philippines by the Katrina Halili Sex Scandal issue which haunted local news during that season (read the report on Mendoza's Cannes Victory here and my reflections on this topic here). Hopefully, this time we give attention this time to things that do indeed glorify the Filipino Film Industry.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whatever happened to the Terminator Franchise? Will Justin Lin be the one to reactivate it?

We all thought the Terminator Saga would have ended after McG's Terminator Salvation did not turn out to be the grand epic success that it was expected to be.

Just a little more than six months after the release of Terminator Salvation, its production company auctioned off the rights of the Terminator film franchise [read about this report here], it was a deal that tests Hollywood intellectual property valuations at a time when film industry profits are under pressure from falling DVD sales. After Sony Pictures & Lionsgate bid frantically for the rights, neither movie studio came out the winner. Halcyon accepted a $29.5 million bid from a Santa Barbara-based hedge fund Pacificor, the debtholder which pushed the company into bankruptcy.Of course, this is subject to the approval by the bankruptcy court. As stated in reports, “Sony and Lionsgate dropped out at just under $29.5 million when it became clear that Pacificor was willing to pay almost any amount of money for Terminator.” As part of the deal, Halcyon will keep the revenue streams from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, and will receive $5 million for every Terminator movie produced in the future. [source: LA Times]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gale Anne Hurd, who produced the first three Terminator movies,  discussed the madness surrounding the rights to the series and said, if everything worked out, she’d love to do another one: "It’s very sad. You feel like you gave birth to something and it’s been adopted and those adoptions haven’t worked out. Of course I’d be interested in doing another one. I’d love it."

Now it looks like Justin Lin, director of the upcoming Fast Five is interested in reviving the Terminator franchise. Lin says he has a take on Terminator he would like to see and that he’s spoken with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lin says: 
"I think one of the great things is that when I got started, no one would return my calls, and now I get a lot of phone calls, which is good.  I have options.  Terminator was one of my favorite films growing up.  And I feel I have a take that I would love to see, and I’ve talked with Arnold and we’ve talked and we’ll see.  Again, I would love to do it, but it has to be the right circumstances.  It has to be the right people.  And there’s other projects too.  But I’m in a position now that I can choose more than I could a year ago, two years ago.  So that is something that is potentially in my future, but when I get home I will sit down and look at my options and choose what I want to do."

If you ask me, I personally think that the Terminator franchise has a messy storyline up from the very first movie. Stories involving time-travel & fate alteration is a very complex storyline material to work around with, ESPECIALLY if its a film series; everything has to weave together flawlessly. Once it shows some sign of inconsistency, it could easily dissolve from both its fandom and from the box office profits. When box-office fails, the last thing that can save the film is its hardcore followers that 'get it'. I actually loved "Terminator Salvation" but there's no denying that it was still a mess. Let's just hope that somebody will finally make a Terminator movie that will give this saga some order.

Check out this funny short video about a Terminator begging in the streets

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Tum: My Pledge of Love

There are bad movies, and there are really awful movies. And then there is “Tum: My Pledge of Love” which is so awful, to the point that it is hilarious. Don’t get me wrong; I did not walk into this movie with an antagonizing mindset; I actually consider Robin Padilla as one of my local film industry idols, I don’t read up on gossip news enough to say that the Robin-Mariel love team has annoyed me, and Mariel Rodriguez is one of my local celebrity crushes. “Tum: My Pledge of Love” is its own monster, pure high grade garbage; to the point that its pureness can become appealing to those with twisted perverse tastes in film quality, those who find a degree of amusing appreciation for the stinkiest of B-movies.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

TOTAL RECALL to be Recalled and Remade

The classic sci-fi movie TOTAL RECALL which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger is up for a remake. This remake, which is in development over at Columbia Pictures, will be directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld & Diehard 4) and will star Colin Farrell as Quaid, the leading role once made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bryan Cranston – three-time Emmy-winning star of AMC’s Breaking Bad – is in negotiations to star as the villain. It is not yet known to who exactly Cranston will be playing. The first movie had two primary villains: Corrupt Mars administrator / evil mastermind Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox), and his ruthless henchman Richter (Michael Ironside). Whether Cranston will be playing the bad guy with brains or brawn has yet to be announced.

The first TOTAL RECALL movie which was directed by the director of Robocop, Basic Instinct, and Starship Troopers director Paul Verhoeven. It was an adaptation of the short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” which was written by the famous sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick.

It has been revealed that the screenwriter of the upcoming remake, Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Equilibrium) will be more faithful to Dick’s original story than what the first Total Recall did. Here is the synopsis of “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”

Douglas Quail, a simple and ordinary man, wishes to visit Mars. Unable to afford it, he visits a company, Rekal, Incorporated, that offers implanted memories (“extra-factual memory”). The attempt to implant some racy Mars memories of Quail as a secret agent reveals that Quail actually is an undercover government assassin with a mind full of dangerous secrets. The Rekal staff quickly get Quail out of their office; he heads home and finds certain physical evidence to support his new old memories.

The government initially seeks his death but instead Quail manages to make a deal. He returns to Rekal to have his Mars memories once more suppressed, and is offered by way of compensation a set of heroic wish-fulfillment false memories. The Rekal staff begin the memory-implanting procedure — and uncover a different and older set of suppressed memories revealing that the unbelievable memories they are about to insert are already there and are true.

The first TOTAL RECALL movie was primarily an action vehicle for Schwarzenegger. Personally, I am hoping that this remake will be a better, more thought-provoking movie that will have the same kind of mood as Inception. The only problem here is that Len Wiseman is best known for his being a visual action director. His Underworld movies are best known for its John Woo-like style, and stylish character designs. At least, we should be thankful that it's not Brett Ratner or Michael Bay.

Total Recall is slated for release on August 3, 2012.