It’s almost time for the pitch for our initial plans for our shorts. This includes the story, treatment and other key aspects of the production. Here’s my synopsis for the initial pitch…
“Project Bernardo Carpio” Synopsis:
Bernardo struggles to free himself from his chains, while he also duels with the powerful entity who led him to his demise under the mountains of Montalban. This character-driven story depicts a rivalry that unveils an account of Bernardo’s life and the story behind “The Legend of Bernardo Carpio.”
With many, many, many months of production to go, of course, it is not impossible to have certain changes as the project develops. But here’s to chronicling how those developments progress…
About the film’s title, still on the works… suggestions/recommendations/advice are welcome!!
Tuldok Recruitment Video for the Folktales Animated Project:
Yup! This trailer is talking to you!
After a successful completion and launch of our second project, “Pasintabi” and “Lines to Life” educational series, we are now opening membership to anyone who is willing and wants to help create an Original Philippine Animation Industry.
Only registered members with approved application forms will have access to the exclusive forums to exchange ideas, submit concept art, and contribute in their own special way.
See you at the Tambayan!
-Tuldok Animation Studios Team
Tuldok Animation Studios is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring Filipino Artists together to create an Original Filipino Animation Industry.
We are a virtual studio and our previous projects have been built up using community driven efforts inspired by our local custom of “Bayanihan”.
Eclipse Continues to Suck Blood Out of Pop Culture
By Rianne Hill Soriano
Eclipse Continues to Suck Blood Out of Pop CultureBy Rianne Hill Soriano
Twilight Saga: Eclipse is a compelling sequel certain to enthrall die-hard fans.
Twilight is now a legendary brand famous for its teenage angst, pale make-up, and otherworldly love triangle. Now a historical movie franchise breaking box office records worldwide, this third installment clearly marathons every opportunity to please fans. While they ultimately deserve more, this movie successfully utilizes the right blood type to fuel all its bankable possibilities. And whatever critics and non-fans say, its hard-core followers ultimately back up this romantic fantasy flick as an ultimate cash cow.
Eclipse is dull, boring, and overly dramatic; unless the viewer finds it therapeutic, entertaining, or orgasmic to see perfectly pale and powerful vampires and perfectly chiseled, shirtless werewolves making a regular girl happy on the big screen. If just for those, this movie is a sure winner. The movie marathons to as much close-ups and beauty shots while the actors and actresses try to put life to their clichéd lines. Add up some action to boost things up in between the many drags, and that’s about it.
Its vampire boy-meets-ordinary girl-meets werewolf boy story can already be effectively told in a short movie, but of course, the studio needs to prolong it as much as it can. To keep up with the feature-length movie requirement, Eclipse incorporates many visceral set pieces, stylistic flashbacks, and impassioned sentiments to keep the viewers hanging on to its swoony tale of forbidden love.
There’s no middle ground with the Twilight Saga: Either the viewer surrenders to the value of this movie version of the Stephenie Meyer bestseller or the viewer walks out feeling lifeless in disappointment. One thing is for sure, this film confidently provides the commercial requirements to make fans satisfied.
In its own mediocre level, Eclipse’s good points are its pretty good make-up, atmospheric feel, and art direction setting the mood for a sort of emotional pornography for teenagers. The “melodramatic crush factor” works well for those craving for such inner adolescent fantasies. The marketing strategy establishing the vampire-wolf division “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob,” along with the “in-Bella’s shoes” girl fantasies, is developed pretty well throughout the movie. It validates its teen-friendly demeanor where words overcome sexual urges and where fight scenes are meant for viewers who are only concerned about the protagonists winning and looking so cool with it.
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black embrace their own sense of camp in this movie about teenage uncertainty, emotional highs and lows, and impassioned teenage love. It is not the stunning locations, special effects, or the plot that “Twilighters” will keep in mind, it’s the characters and their relationships that they shall remember.
Director David Slade taps into what Twilight fans want. He keeps it cold and lifeless in a way that the ultimate teenage fantasies about the characters become the full movie. The adolescents and the adolescents at heart don’t mind how characters shamelessly have their buttons pushed as long as they can relate to these characters’ own personal hurdles.
Eclipse manages to create a teen drama effectively utilizing its cheesy special effects to stage chaste, romantic tensions against the many scenic backdrops. It demonstrates adolescent longing and primal physical confrontations where the ultimate damsel in distress gets saved by not one but two “prince charmings,” not to mention their whole clans helping out.
For those seeking for a quality film offer, this 124-minute movie about convoluted passions and hormonal outrage cries out for life. It seeks for a life-saving blood transfusion. It is like watching two lovers looking at each other’s eyes and feeling the ultimate magic of being in love; while anyone not relating to it would most likely feel bored or apathetic.
With fans undoubtedly willing to get bitten, this third chapter in the Twilight Saga remains foremost a flick for devotees. Given the strength of this franchise, the least non-fans can wish for is for the next chapter/s to take the challenge of better quality over the shallowness of its comfort zone. If it continues to be this programmed and predictable, the only thing to remember it by is that it sucks the blood out of pop culture; while it leaves everybody else outside dead cold.
The Karate Kid featuring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan starts off with a considerably sincere showcase of what the movie is all about. From the pop music in its opening credits to the kind of shots it utilizes early on, it’s clearly meant for the young crowd who likes hearty stories and happy endings. This commercially entertaining remake works well for its audience while not being an entire rip-off of the 1984 original. It keeps its spirit alive, except for one disappointing aspect: The Karate Kid is actually The Kung Fu Kid.
The biggest cinematic sin committed here is its misnamed title that sets it somewhere in between an appealing popcorn flick and a big cinematic blasphemy.
The story of Dre migrating to China with his mother, along with his learning of kung fu, renders a fine mainstream treat. But sadly, this movie rides too much on the name of the classic Karate Kid film that it practically uses its franchise just to maximize all the hype and good branding. While making a remake of an old movie is something acceptable, this new martial arts flick for kids could have been more respectful of the film’s legacy by either living up with it (within the karate world) or deviating from its original title to keep up with the new, updated plot. In so doing, it wouldn’t look and sound so funny, questionable, and dumb that it’s a Karate Kid movie using kung fu. In fact, they can even use the original movie’s title as a “sub-title” if they really want to use the brand and recuperate on the most likely huge amount they paid to use the franchise.
The Karate Kid remains a feel good story that works. It succeeds as a crowd-pleasing treat that captures the general charm and humanity of the 1984 original. While it doesn’t surpass what its predecessor has already etched in film history, it takes the same old story and feeds it back with some change in scenery and targeted demographic. It radiates the light-hearted buoyancy of the original with Jaden Smith now stepping in as the new Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan as the new Pat Morita.
When disregarding its title’s ultimate booboo, what makes the movie succeed in its own terms is that, amidst its clichéd plot, it manages to earn that same winning spirit of the influential classic. This formulaic but savvy reboot makes a good family movie.
While it is totally predictable, itproves that the formula still has life as this new one captures the good emotional beats of the original. From the simple emotional good-bye scene between Dre’s Detroit friend who gives him the skateboard to the gripping fight scene in the end, the movie pays enough respect to the tradition and nostalgia of the first Karate Kid. It may not be as good as the old one, but it reasonably engages with enough heart.
The bountiful travelogue opportunities in China also add to its button-pushing crowd-pleaser demeanor. Director Harald Zwart features historic Chinese ancient structures sitting right next to new architectural wonders. The panoramic vistas and well-choreographed fight scenes reinterpret Karate Kid without straying too far from what the original offered during its time.
The fight scenes make a good playground to its characters. The climactic showdown works in the same fashion as the 1984 movie where the face-off between the bully and the bullied feels predictable, but it interestingly doesn’t feel calculated. It gets the general audience’s attention for an emotional investment until the underdog reigns supreme. Even the simple cliché moments surprisingly validates the kung fu showdown, complete with a deciding slow-motion kick. The choice of shots and emotional bearing on the characters works well for the story. The direction, acting, production design and cinematography become the saving graces of this blasphemously titled movie.
Working together in the spirit of kung fu, Dre and Mr. Han embody naturally good chemistry. They carry the movie well: a brash American boy trying to fit in Beijing and a queerly reserved Chinese maintenance man seemingly living a lonely life on his own.
The two main characters ground the movie in between the drama, action, and comedy. While they don’t exactly match the depth and fortuitous rapport of Macchio and Morita, their partnership brings a heart-filled depiction of their own.
Smith impresses with his small frame sculpted with martial arts training. He looks very natural on screen and his charm carries the movie all the way towards a pleasing end. Amidst the frequently annoying awareness on Jackie Chan’s struggle to get rid of his Americanized tongue to speak Chinese without any English twang, he still generally works well as Mr. Han. He brings good depth to his inner struggle as a character where his emotional baggage fills up to the brim in the car drama sequence. At some point, he seems to go overboard, but the direction and editing effectively handles his breakdown with emotional shots showing him heads down on the steering wheel.
The characterizations of the other roles are not given enough value. Dre’s mother played by Taraji Henson is completely two-dimensional and flat like the rest, with the exception of the bullying boys who get their change of heart by the movie’s end. The humanity between Dre and Mr. Han is fine, but the movie could have benefited more if at least, there’s a simple establishment of Dre investing in one emotional bonding scene with his mother, instead of just mere comic elements brought to their scenes together. His potential love interest Meiying played by Wen Wen Han makes a good addition to the puppy love angle of the story. Dre’s kung fu opponent delivers a fine performance to keep the other side of the story’s spectrum a well-rendered aspect of the movie as well.
Bull’s Eye Action But Miles of Missed Storytelling
By Rianne Hill Soriano
Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is a sweeping epic complete with spectacle and pageantry; yet, it collapses into an epic cliché. With its elaborate plotting unable to live up to the roaring fires and engaging fights, it merely lingers around like a topnotch archer drinking buckets of mead, then expectedly fails to hit the crucial mark. At the least, it hits the edge of the target through its noteworthy performances and production values.
It could have been a tighter cinematic offer instead of being a two and a half-hour story of a few hits and lots of misses. The action part is considerably fine, but the drama part fails. While there are a few intelligent and bull’s eye moments between the talented Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride/Robin Hood and her equally talented partner Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley that work, the very essence of this Robin Hood story has a lot of dead spaces and pointless name-checking. Its salvation is how it manages to keep the action up and running within its well-mounted set pieces; thus, making it a “beautiful bore” to some, a “just fine” compromise to casual moviegoers and Robin Hood aficionados, or a “just another hollow adaptation” to the rest who felt they got robbed money from movie tickets.
Scott’s spin on the classic Robin Hood yarn turns the familiar old English legend into a serious gritty and grubby lesson in 13th century British history. This time, he and his usual Oscar-winning crewmates turn the familiar swashbuckling bandit of Sherwood Forest into a serious story focusing on the man behind the legend. It works like a sort of a prequel on how the legend came to be. It attempts to explain the earlier life of Robin Hood by stripping away the fantasy from the myth and making his story more like a societal lesson and a historical exposition. It seems to aim higher than all these, but it lacks the needed depth to transcend the intended character study into a more valuable piece of cinematic work.
Robin Hood is filtered through all the trademark requirements of a summer blockbuster. It has good cuts, camera movements and engaging sound. Scott is at his best with the action sequences; yet, he is unable to put enough dimensionality to the characters, amidst the solid acting performances. The robust script from Brian Helgeland has a sense of struggle in it. The climactic battle sequence is another technical saving grace amidst some overstuffed and ill-conceived moments.
On the positive side, the sense of epic sweep and detailed grounding of the film’s intentions make the uneven pacing work on a basic entertainment level. John Mathieson’s cinematography effectively relives the medieval setting and English countryside feel. The wealth of well-researched period details from production designer Arthur Max keeps the movie appealing.
The film has a strong ensemble that lodges well within the Middle Age setting. The cast of veteran actors and actresses including the supporting cast Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley, William Hurt as William Marshal and Mark Strong as Godfrey maintain the serious mood befitting the director’s treatment. However, some scenes tend to inappropriately have accents wandering all over England.
For its specific merits, Robin Hood is one entertaining material. This story about the English philanthropic outlaw is still a watchable fare to the non-demanding viewers. It is technically a handsomely made movie that reworks the traditional characters of the legend into the world of real people. Its production reins over the story, though. And if not for the “too much of this and not enough of that” issue, the solid performances, rousing action sequences and impressive style could have made it a much interesting piece of cinematic wonder.
The Iron Man Element Still Works By Rianne Hill Soriano
“Iron Man 2” keeps its visual and polished appeal. It is entertaining enough but falls a little short of delivering anything new, other than rediscovering its “new element.” Yet, it doesn’t really oblige itself to, anyway. It packs itself with a cool “Iron Man” air and it blasts things in awesome ways.
More than just being a popcorn spectacle with a typically mainstream plot, the shots are impressively well thought off, the acting performances are engaging, the sound elements and music deliver well, and the special effects are visual grabbers.
Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the cast fill this superhero flick with solid performances fitting its action-techno-fantasy package. His style for witty dialogue with deadpan delivery continues to own and entertain the part. His portrayal of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark and his superhero alter ego Iron Man continues to be the movie’s most compelling component and the franchise’s strongest asset. People can keep such satisfied popcorn smiles while watching the movie.
“Iron Man 2” soars high amidst the heavy metal it wears. There are fewer surprises and exhilarating scenes than its smarter predecessor and there are a few moments of contrivances, but this sequel is still a thrilling and charming offer.
Other than its heavy reliance on CGI, action sets, and stunts, both its production team and cast members live up to the task of making the film a worthwhile action-packed film. It has an aptly fast-paced and glossy look that overwhelms its not so engaging plot. It remains mindlessly entertaining from the technophile’s haven scenes to the fight and chase scenes. The industrialist clunks sometimes get slightly annoying, but it remains mindlessly entertaining with all the big guns, high tech gadgets, cool cars, flashy metal suits and machinery plot.
The filmmakers seem conscious of both the advantages and disadvantages of fight scenes involving faceless actors in big titanium battle suits. The insert shots of their faces from inside their metal gears work. But interestingly, Tony Stark’s scenes are more point blank solid if compared to the showy Iron Man fight scenes. As usual, Downey’s performance as the man outside the suit works best whenever he is hanging out and having fun.
The verbose parts, mostly from the bantering moments and tireless arguments between the main tandems (Tony and Pepper; Hammer and Ivan), are fun and charming. Snappy one-liners also help the movie build up well.
More than his own charismatic personality transcending on screen, Downey’s character really blends well with his colleagues in the acting department. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts provides wit, energy, and chemistry with the leading man as she offers a beating heart to the story without resulting to cheesiness. Scarlett Johannson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff effectively steals the show with her fight scene. Her cyborg-ish looks also add to the film’s visual commercial flavor.
Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko are great additions to the movie. Their characters are well developed; thus, making the typical plot and characterization work to the movie’s advantage. Rockwell’s smarmy acting is effectively irritating. He really measures up to the need of the story for such a selfish corporate freak character. Rourke is awesome with his very convincing performance as a Russian techno genius with a streak of both serious and comic personalities. He promotes a wide range of emotion than makes him such a driving force on the other end of the Iron Man’s superhero spectrum.
Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine doesn’t really transcend to the investment already made by Terrence Howard’s charismatic performance for the first “Iron Man.” It’s such a disappointing change that really affects this significant part of the franchise. Personally, Howard’s Rhodey is a bull’s eye in the same way as Downey’s Stark. Unfortunately, Cheadle doesn’t live up well as a needed replacement.
Garry Shandling as Senator Stern delivers greatly as the typical politician modeling in front of the public’s eye. Leslie Bibb as the journalist Christine Everheart is a recognizable face from the first “Iron Man” and she keeps her short but significant appearance in this sequel. Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury also has a short screen time; and yet, how he handles his role quite peaks the interest for his character. Favreau again appears more than just the director as he plays the part as the funny Happy Hogan for the second time around. Stan Lee makes another fun cameo in the movie.
This movie is another treat for those who pay respect to the credits. After the long scroll filled with endless names and production credits of people who really worked hard to make this cinematic project how it is, people staying get a glimpse of what’s in store for the next “Iron Man” sequel.
Clearly and wittily exuding a screwball vibe filled with action and techno treats, “Iron Man 2” lives up to the idea of slam-bang entertainment. Indeed, this franchise isn’t rusty yet. It is undoubtedly a solid blockbuster sequel with a few faults that people don’t mind overlooking.
New Moon Movie Review: A Swoon Movie for the Fans
This second bite to the hugely popular Twilight saga can’t exactly do the same for the outsiders. It may not be good enough to seduce new fans, but it’s not bad enough to break off relentless infatuations from its very much anticipating target market. Read More
King Kong Movie Review: A Beastly Adventure
Jackson’s King Kong proves to be an enduring part of film history and legacy all over the world. If LOTR is a magical classic in complete greatness, King Kong is a monstrous adventure flick with mainstream feel. Read More