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Still rockin after 7 years… ūüôā If ever you’re flying AirAsia by this November, you may want to check out my film “Technophilia” at the Viddsee channel of the AirAsia free in-flight wifi service. Viddsee selected it for premiere for the program this November (which is my birthday month too) ūüėČ

Thanks, Viddsee!!!

Hi Rianne,

Great news! We’re partnering with AirAsia for the first time to market Viddsee short films to a wider audience across SE Asia. AirAsia has a free inflight wifi service roKKi and we will be having a Viddsee channel under the entertainment section for audience to watch Viddsee short films!

We programme 10 new shorts every month in the channel, and we’re excited to select your film “Technophilia” for the month of November!

Regards,
Nikki

“Technophilia” has been the last independent film i shot to date (i know, it’s been way too long), and i so miss shooting indie films really. Shooting commercial/corporate works for years now to pay the bills. But hopefully i can finally find time to shoot another indie film soon. It’s been so long overdue. Sigh…

And i so miss my production team too. From my staff to my cast, everything was so fun and memorable. It’s not only my shortest short to date, it’s also the shortest i shot — about 6 hours from grind to wrap. And i guess it would be the last i would ever shoot in celluloid (and most likely the last i would shoot without a video assist), unless budget and prod requirements lead me back to film in the future… But i sure do hope i can manage to shoot another international production like this again (my team here was composed of: Iraqi, Korean, American, Japanese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, and Filipino). Indeed, filmmaking can end up communicating beyond the confines of language and even cultural differences — where storytelling becomes a universal language to touch people’s lives.


My Film ‘Technophilia’ Now at AirAsia’s In-flight Wi-Fi Service Via the Viddsee Channel
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Gaya ng pag-ibig, walang pinipiling edad ang Juan, Konek! Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project. Lahat pwedeng kumonek. ;)#WiFiLuv #FreeWiFiPH #InternetForAll #JuanKonek

Posted by Juan, Konek on Sunday, March 6, 2016

Two seeming millennials simply chatting, apparently, it’s something beyond that. A romantic-comedy short film about love and connection…

Watch Our Short Film ‘Wi-FiLuv’
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Average

Given its movie-epic flair, ‚ÄúQueen of the Desert‚ÄĚ is pretty enough to be watchable for its sweeping desert landscapes, picturesque British countryside, glorious 20th-century architecture, and classy period costumes. However, the story‚Äôs structure ultimately fails. Much of the problem comes from the acting, which is clearly a hit or miss, often the latter, and the episodic pacing that almost never engrosses the audience, even during the supposedly very emotional moments.

Based on the true story of the life of British explorer and adventurer Gertrude Bell, this underwhelming piece of cinema, surprisingly helmed by the respectable Werner Herzog, chronicles a journey through love, loss, and coping up in the eyes of a curious and adventurous woman way ahead of her time.

Nicole Kidman as Gertrude Bell doesn’t look desert-hardened despite the character she portrays. Her joys and pains remain quite difficult to understand even by the film’s end. There is barely any persuasive emotional depth invested on her character. While her maturity as an actress comes into place at certain times, the disappointing storytelling structure lacks both the sweep and psychological complexity the story desperately needs. The narrative remains passionless and devoid of layers that should have come from the trailblazing archaeologist and politician Bell’s many extraordinary adventures in the 1920s Middle East.

The conflicts of love and tragedy lets down as any death that comes in the story is not in any way impactful for the audience. Viewers are unable to get that crucial emotional attachment to root for the characters and their plight. All details that unfold come as they are without emotional investment of any kind for the audience to keep up with.

Robert Pattison as T.E. Lawrence is completely disappointing, rendering no depth to his persona to impose himself as Lawrence of Arabia. The emptiness in his character becomes the most dominant element in his role, especially whenever he utters his lines. Peter O’Toole could have probably cringed if he’s still alive and saw this unfortunate portrayal of his iconic character.

James Franco as Henry Cadogan adds a bit of spice to the bland sketches of male roles presented throughout the tale, but the film’s storytelling betrays his fate in the narrative that he is still unable to garner any form of convincing impact in the story.

‘Queen of the Desert’ Film Review: Beautifully Empty
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My most personal edited project to date; our most personal video collaboration to date. Thanks to our frequent collaborator production designer Joy who made my GoPro bridal bouquet inspired by our “Denim Neo-classic” theme. Like the designs for our wedding, the bridal bouquet used recycled materials as well.

I shot my own wedding and my husband, who frequently collaborates with me on my film and commercial projects as sound engineer and/or scorer, worked on the audio requirements.

For the most part, this wedding film was shot on a first-person perspective, giving a raw, more personal and genuine chronicling of a wedding from the viewpoints of those involved in this special occasion.

Let us share the intimacy of a wedding celebration from the ‚Äúother‚ÄĚ camera perspective ‚ÄĒ the bride‚Äôs. And at some point, the couple‚Äôs and the wedding party‚Äôs perspectives as well.

Watch the entirety of the professionally edited 29 minutes, 38 seconds of this GoPro-shot wedding or simply give the first 3 minutes a chance, then let’s see if you want to keep up with what’s next…

Best watched in HD (1080p).

Next time, we’ll upload the official wedding video with full coverage of our wedding celebration from the traditional perspective, then there will be a balance between the two points of view.

#riannephilipwedding
#GoPro
#wedding

Click here for:
Rianne and Philip Wedding Facebook Page
Rianne and Philip Wedding Website

Rianne & Philip Wedding Shot with GoPro Bridal Bouquet
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Paper Towns movie review

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Average

‚ÄúPaper Towns‚ÄĚ offers a lukewarm teen dramedy that romanticizes a type of a geeky schoolboy‚Äôs lost-and-found teenage daydream tale. Packaged to appeal primarily to pre-teens, it maintains a consistently wholesome voice that greatly downplays the darker side of growing up. Although the paper-thin presentation doesn‚Äôt turn out as deeply moving as it intends to be, it occasionally manages to remain grounded with charming supporting details that can still warrant a slight recommendation.

Adapted from the bestselling young adult novel by author John Green, also the man behind the book ‚ÄúThe Fault in Our Stars,‚ÄĚ this coming-of-age tale looks at young, unrequited love, friendship, independence, adventure, breaking rules, seizing the day, and letting go through the eyes of a regular teenager who is in love with the mystery girl next door. The funny, frisky teen narrative centers on Quentin and his enigmatic neighbor Margo. After taking Quentin in a series of risk-taking tasks around their Orlando hometown for the whole night, Margo suddenly ends up gone the next day, only leaving behind some cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. This leads Quentin and his closest friends in an exhilarating adventure to track down the missing Margo, the popular girl who loves mysteries too much that she eventually ends up being one herself.

This formulaic teen romance and melodrama directed by Jake Schreier may not be the most poignant nor groundbreaking in the way it handles its light and noble intentions, but it makes the clear choice of presenting the messiness of ordinary life to make its target audience identify more with the story. It focuses on the more literal than the more existential views about growing up, and along the way, make the simple pleasures of understanding true friendship as profound as finding genuine love in unexpected ways.

As this motion picture gets manicured to primarily appeal to the book’s teen fans, it makes the storytelling slightly too romanticized that the progression of the tale comes across as a little too polished and scripted. Despite a few resonant moments, the material gets weighed down by the meandering exercise in artifice and gloss in favor of the often too clean lines of fantasy and romance, rendering more contrivances in its make-believe world as the story moves on. With such issues, the gauzy plot’s series of behavioral puzzles find it difficult to provide authentic beats of awakening to really strike serious emotional chords, especially come resolution time. These make the picture a glazed down and a serenely bland adaptation piece that practically works better on paper than on screen.

It is worth noting that the characters didn’t opt for the unreasonably glamorous looks that many actors tend to prioritize in their on-screen performances for such a gloss-filled movie. Generally, each cast member possesses that everyday appearance that adds a more identifiable charm to the proceedings. However, this doesn’t make the actors free from the paper-thin characterizations from the script. Amidst the charming young cast’s attempt to help compensate on the shortcomings of the storytelling through a good number of likeable performances, their cardboard characters are still often too mundane to merit significant personal and social impact.

Nat Wolff as Quentin Jacobsen keeps up with the stereotype geek-and-goody high schooler character frequently featured in this type of coming-of-age spin. Overall, he delivers the needs of the story as a passionate young adult in search for his childhood sweetheart. His co-star Cara Delevingne as Margo Roth Spiegelman lives up to the ‚ÄúManic Pixie Dream Girl‚ÄĚ archetype, but her monotone take on her role ultimately falls short in putting layers of depth to her character‚Äôs more mysterious demeanor. Interestingly, the supporting characters end up more charming than the two young leads in most scenes. The more compelling friendship between the three high school boys Quentin, Radar, the role played by Justice Smith, and Ben, the role played by Austin Abrams, offers more chemistry as screen buddies compared to the main characters Quentin and Margo.

‘Paper Towns’ Film Review: Paper-thin wholesome
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How does technology affect your life?

Shot December 2008, premiered June 2009… 6 years after premiere and 3 years after last award, Technophilia is still getting around. Check it out as “Film of the Day” for Viddsee, curated by Alem Ang.

technophilia 1
Shooting Format: 16mm

Screening Format: HD

Running Time: 7 minutes

Acknowledgments: Colorwheel Media Studios, Korean Film Council (KOFIC), Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), and Korea University (KU), Asian Film Professionals Training Program, Hit Productions

You can check out more about the film via its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Technophilia/178031655605594?fref=ts

Via its film blog: http://www.technophiliafilm.blogspot.com

Via IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1459060/

And Viddsee: https://www.viddsee.com/video/technophilia/ls76n

Technophilia Poster
Film poster by Joods Feliciano
Thank you to the KoBiz (Korean Film Council), Korean Academy of Film Arts, and Korea University for the support. Thank you to Seymour Sanchez for the opportunity to know about KOFIC. This is the unplanned, spur-of-the moment film that brought me to places. Thank you so much!
My Film ‘Technophilia’ is Film of the Day at Viddsee
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3D movies are actually older than most people think. Way before the latest 3D craze of our times, a number of 3D flicks during the 80’s were already hitting the box office. In fact, the 50’s and even decades earlier all became witnesses to a number of 3D movie offerings. The catch of these older movies (mainly using the anaglyph-style 3D via¬†those red and blue glasses) was how they tend to amaze the viewers with that so-called¬†“jump of the screen” effects.

Now, in the era of IMAX 3D, Real 3D, and Dolby Digital 3D, this best 3D movies list rekindles the long-gone hype of what 3D technology can offer to the big screen.

Since the resurgence of 3D movies from the mid-2000’s to March 2010, I have been¬†personally hoping to catch the¬†old 3D movies of yesteryears, then¬†have them compared with what the modern times¬†offer. But for now, these films from the new era of 3D filmmaking (using 3D stereoscopic technology) are my best picks for the Top 5 Best 3D Movies List¬†as of March 2010:

1. “Avatar”
Year: 2009
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, and Michelle Rodriguez
Plot: After the sudden death of his twin brother, the paraplegic war veteran Jake takes his place in a mission to infiltrate the Na’vi, a humanoid race from the distant world Pandora, through the use of an avatar. In exchange for the spinal surgery to fix his legs, he submits to the instructions of the military authorities and corporate executives, only to find himself torn between the greed of his own race and the need and value of an alien civilization that he begins to embrace.

This bold 3D eco-opus examining technological wonders and morality is totally jaw-dropping in stereoscopic 3D. Period.

2. “U2 3D”
Year: 2007
Director: Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington
Cast: U2 as themselves (Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., and The Edge)
Plot: With everything entirely shot with more than a dozen 3D cameras, U2 3D offers a groundbreaking concert movie featuring the legendary band U2’s 2006 “Vertigo” tour.

This rock documentary provides a perfect marriage of surround sound and 3D visuals that it felt like attending a real concert. At the IMAX theater, I and the rest of the viewers were standing, singing, holding up concert stuff, and jumping from our places with an energy like that from a real concert.

3. “Deep Sea 3D”
Year: 2006
Director: John Hall
Voice Narration: Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp
Plot: As a 3D nature documentary exploring the awe-inspiring depths of the oceans around the world and their marvelous creatures, this film becomes a spectacular journey around the homes of the many aquatic wonders of the planet.

This visually enticing 40-minute film offers a worthwhile 3D experience. It is breathtaking, educational, and so full of life. From the stunning and colorful species to the grotesque and weird sea creatures, it allows the audience to really feel the valuable presence of all these life forms and how significant they are in a world that humans should fairly share with them. How engrossing this short but meaningful movie is? Many of us inside the theater ended up personally touching mid air for several times to feel those majestic fishes that were seemingly right in front of us.

4. “Coraline”
Year: 2009
Director: Henry Selick
Voice Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Keith David, and Ian McShane
Plot: Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, this 3D stop-motion animation project offer tells the¬†story of the little girl Coraline who moves to an old house and discovers an alternate version of her life there. Feeling bored and neglected by her parents, she finds solace on¬†the parallel reality of this other version of her world (where everybody has buttons instead of eyes). She initially finds it way much better than her real life. However, her adventure gradually turns into danger and she struggles to find her way home to¬†save her real family.

This animated offering¬†sets a significant template on how 3D films should be. It provides great storytelling, just enough “jump-out-at-you” moments, and a fantastical vision though its dark fantasy treatment. It effectively envelops the audience with an immersive adventure the way Coraline experiences it. The 3D imagery is utilized for the best of the film instead of becoming a mere 3D cash-cow gimmick.

5. “Beowulf”
Year: 2007
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Crispin Glover, and Angelina Jolie
Plot: The Danish king Hrothgar succumbs to the havoc initiated by the monstrous troll Grendel. He offers rewards for his death and the great warrior Beowulf lives up to the task. He soon becomes king. However, his darkest secret gets back at him decades after when Grendel’s evil mother, whom Beowulf had a life-enduring bargain with before, brings to his kingdom its worst nightmare.

Zemeckis’ foray into the world of actor-based computer animation turns¬†this classic literary tale into a different kind of¬†sensory experience in 3D¬†animation format. It blends CGI, motion capture, and 3D sterescopic technologies to bring a¬†level of 3D appeal that has become a pioneer for¬†its time.

Top 5 Best 3D Movies List 2010
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Adventureland movie review

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Average

“Adventureland” is a sweet, insightful, and heartfelt coming-of-age tale¬†with loads of sensitivity and a genuine heart. It is a smart and perceptive tale about college kids in their so-called crappy jobs and how they struggle to learn more about life and love.

This motion picture¬†presents the hearts of teens and young adults with that fluttering up and down motion, which is kind of¬†similar¬†to¬†riding a¬†roller-coaster. This refreshing retro drama-comedy explores¬†the joyride of the young adults’ present angst and their preparations for their future.

The film’s strength lies in the power of its well-delivered performances, beautifully written script, and carefully crafted characters — each of whom is sincerely flawed yet¬†purely compelling. The characters are genuinely tarnished and appealing as they seize those uncertain feelings teens get¬†as young adults.¬†Full of humor and nostalgia as a period story resonating with a universal touch on sex talks, drugs, awkward situations, goofs, intrigues, and humor, it does a pretty good job in capturing the teens and their times. From the way kids generally behave in their 80’s American culture to the ups-and-downs of late ’80s rock, it provides a sort of noteworthy melancholy of a classic young adult novel made for the big screen. Its heart and soul are deeply invested in its shaky, awkward, sweet, funny, and tender drama with an indie-art touch. It manages a certain combination of the maturity, absurdity, and anguish of young adulthood; thus, crafting a refreshing take on “the teen turmoil issues” where the uncertainty and inherent fear of an idealist become¬†intensely charged with personal feelings, doubts, and dreams.

“Adventureland” is the sort of film that seems like a derivative of countless teen-oriented coming-of-age offerings. But what makes it stand out is its thorough exploration of the familiar territory with an effectively loose and scruffy appeal. Director Greg Mottola puts plenty of heart to this tale. The narrative¬†clearly puts that feeling of “already seen and heard before,” and¬†makes¬†it¬†genuinely integral to the story. This movie prove that rehashed¬†stories with predictable structure simply need¬†authentic touches to be mounted well.

The heart of the film lies on the emotional microcosm of the local amusement park, a place happily rambling along with its share of laughs and lust. Set in 1987 Pittsburgh, the recent college graduate James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) takes a nowhere job at the nearby park Adventureland, where summer vacation leads to summer jobs, and possibly, summer love. Surprisingly, this very place becomes a perfect course to get the young adults prepared for the real world outside the realms of childhood and teenage life.

Filled with likable actors and 1980’s pop songs, this cinematic piece¬†entertains without pretending to be more than a tribute to doing odd jobs, meeting unlikely friends, trying anything fun, wild and exciting, and hanging out without the concern for adult responsibilities. It becomes a sweet and irreverent tale about characters with real hearts under goofy shirts.

Credible performances from the ensemble cast make effective use of music and moments to enrich their eclectic roles. Eisenberg has the ability to endearingly convey gawkiness and mortification, along with his quirky, intellectual, twenty-something virgin character, to deliver¬†what makes the story come full circle — his sincerity, his high virtue and worst defect. His life experiences with a bunch of his kind at the amusement park find prime solace in Em Lewin (Kristen Stewart). Stewart shines in a raw and tender performance that bursts with charisma. Here, innocent fun, true friendship, and an added spark of love work for the story in which he and Stewart put deft touches of realism to the heartbreakingly genuine couple.

Mottola does quite a good job in weaving his characters to be unaffected by their already marked celebrity personalities — especially with the recent hype for Stewart’s Bella Swan role¬†in “Twilight” and Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson/Deadpool role in “Wolverine.” Reynolds here as Mike Connell turns out¬†very low key. He fits the tricky part he has to play, just like the rest of the cast members¬†that generally work well in¬†their specific roles — in a similar way the various jobs and people inside Adventureland work.

‘Adventureland’ Film Review: Roller-coastering towards adulthood
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Avatar movie review

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Average

As a feat of fearless imagination and audacity, “Avatar” is a bold eco-opus examining the themes technological wonders and morality. It is a breathtaking flight of fancy using the typical Hollywood formula.

Engaging its audience with its titanic technical achievement, its technical brilliance, alongside its timely and significant concept, is truly worth more than a decade of risky, arduous, and passionate work.

Leading the future for its new format of big-screen entertainment, watch it in 3D to get the full experience it can offer on the big screen.

Director James Cameron impressively leads the viewers¬†to his Pandora’s box. Predictable story, cliched dialogue, and logical lapses aside, this motion picture¬†turns out thrilling and explosive in the right mix. It has enough soul to effectively escape into the new world of jaw-dropping spectacle. This film gets the closest any has to fulfilling the 3D format’s fundamental mission of creating a new, immersive way of looking at movies. If there’s a¬†chance, it is highly recommended to watch it in IMAX to¬†see it in its¬†full visual glory.

The most-hyped movie of the year just about merits the description. Cameron’s visionary bearing for his long-awaited pet project, his first film after the equally historical 1997 hit “Titanic,” is well worth the wait.

Its¬†awe-inspiring technical brilliance kind of overpowers the storytelling — but the said flaw doesn’t really matter with how Cameron¬†brings¬†to life Pandora and the Na’vi, which clearly is¬†a quantum leap in modern filmmaking technology.

The narrative explores the sub-stories of: a buffed ex-marine in a wheelchair who gets turned into an alien warrior through his avatar (his human mind in an alien body); a free spirited princess in an indigenous alien tribe getting into a love triangle; a military industrial complex with machinery and weaponry of the 22nd Century caliber; and a potential world filled with exotic life forms and million-dollar stones.

The tale about profit and progress vs. nature’s power and infinite variety promotes a fancifully detailed vision. However, the exploration of these societal issues gets quite compromised by the rather juvenile story exposition. In terms of the intense expectations for it, amidst the very promising concept, the film still falls short in putting enough dimension to its plot, as compared to its technical magnificence as a 3D epic.

Gorgeously rendered, this 3D offering sets a new bar in computer-generated animation. With the feast of technical details on display, the viewers can easily find themselves busy marveling at everything on screen. The photorealistic 3D imagery really transports the audience into an alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures, and characters; even at the middle of clunky lines, awkward scenes, cliched moments, and a script that plays things very, very safe.

The film’s concept is full of potential. Its¬†vision is full of challenge. Not everything makes sense; but in the best way possible, things are dealt with for the sake of pure Hollywood entertainment. Every time the movie runs out of credibility, especially when it comes to the plot, the eye-candy provides enough sugar rush.¬†The screen elements¬†break the CG barrier by combining elaborate lighting elements and complicated visual details with state-of-the-art motion-capture technology and tried-and-tested recreation of live-action parts. Meanwhile, James Horner delivers the 3D equivalent of a soundtrack. From start to end, the sound and music are in par with what the visuals offer.

Cameron and his legion of skilled craftspeople mounts¬†a convincingly realized artificial world created from scratch to¬†the big screen. They blur the line between reality and CGI by definitively blending animation and live-action elements. The breathtakingly beautiful CGI landscapes present a story that easily travels from the human world to the fantastical and back. Its sophisticated editing rhythms represent what one contemporary blockbuster cinema (a $400 million project) dictates. The filmmakers’ aim for sheer wonderment for this sci-fi epic with gamer-geek sensibility truly delivers for its intended purpose.

While its cinematic impact may not quite rise to the ultimate expectation of being “a master of all masterpieces,” this bold and imaginative vision gets to the level of such a descriptive phrase as a “stunning masterpiece of cinematic technology.”

The metaphorical aspects of the film, though not played out at their best, are still worth noting. When trying to go deeper than the jaw-dropping visuals, the narrative reveal issues and concerns on progress vs. environment. Value is also given to themes about: tribes and races; physicality and spirituality; love and survival; humanity and technology; pride and purpose; responsibility and morality; and war and greed.

The world of Pandora is very immersive and the Na’vi people seem to resemble the old culture of the world in the alter ego of American Indians. The marines and the scientists resemble the capitalist and fascist thinking in modern civilization.¬†The heroes of the tale show how it is to become truly human, while being torn in between two different worlds.

It is interesting to note that unlike the overall storytelling that gets¬†sort of overpowered by the film’s audio-visual grandeur, the well-realized culture of the Na’vi becomes¬†comparable to a fantasy novel getting the reader engrossed to the value of its world, resources, and people — to the point that the special effects don’t exactly become a barrier to let you feel for them as they struggle against the destruction of their home¬†by the so-called “sky people.”

This decade-in-the-making dream project of Cameron is like the “Star Wars” of this age. For all the technical virtuosity of its mythical 3D universe, the Na’vi characters seem much more expressive than most motion-capture technology creations of this generation — making it in par with the brilliance of the exemplary Gollum-Smeagel character in “Lord of The Rings.” The¬†invented world is also comparable to the technical and thematic milestones that George Lucas and Peter Jackson made in the realms of fantasy and special effects filmmaking.

The technical wizardry is at the service of a recycled plot that still rightfully pumps blood for the purpose of cinematic immersion. The film’s digital world effectively transports the audience¬†to a domain¬†that doesn’t exist — and it is just impossible not to get engaged¬†with the fantastic visuals of such painstakingly intricate details.

“Avatar” is a little hollow at the center as compared to great film concepts and scripts that have become masterpieces; but the sheer scale and ambition of its¬†production look as tactile and as tangible, as if they are¬†made of real materials and living tissues.

The creative epiphany in¬†“Avatar” is the¬†extraordinary experience that more than lives up to the hype. Despite its flaws, it¬†is a brilliant, visual extravaganza that is simultaneously thrilling, provocative, and surprisingly moving. It ma¬†be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling opus, but it proves to be a successful approach in¬†creating a good 3D film experience; thus, paving the way for it to become a 3D sci-fi classic in the history of world¬†cinema.

This motion picture¬†is essentially a movie that people¬†have seen before; but it is boldly made to look like nothing anyone has seen before. The inadequacies of the story become relatively¬†forgivable — thanks to¬†the undeniably beautiful, engrossing, and mind-bending audio-visual epic that it is.

‘Avatar’ Film Review: What jaw-dropping 3D can be
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Average

The swoony supernatural romance and the neo-horror motif of “Twilight” can both amuse and bemuse — depending on the type of viewer.

From the initial fans of the book to the newly-recruited fans of the Edward-Bella love team, the teen bite of the tale clearly gets into their veins. The formula for this movie’s charm is very much apparent. It offers that dose of ordinary girl-meets-extraordinary boy who turns out as the prince charming to the damsel in distress. It has key elements for romantic spree backed up by both physical and occult-ish appeals, providing enough escapism for its target audience. All these float to the surface of what is supposedly “just another overused teen love story,” which often times would not offer a record-breaking pursuit for blockbuster appeal.

This adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling teen novel focuses on a rehashed plot that merely shows what happens to the characters in every second of screen time, leaving no much room to grow their interactions beyond the emo-romance fare. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that this type of movie doesn’t work. In fact, it is pure fantasy for girls who want to be princesses — while having their bad boys by their side. Regardless of how questionnable its values are, this is really what makes this particular movie a successful new franchise. It is able to establish the needed teen moodscape where the chemistry between the main characters offers enough smoldering desire that the teen crowd would typically love.

This kind of romance flick is clearly geared towards those who enjoy straight-up unforbidden love, angst-filled behavior, and underage rebellion on screen. With a distinctly young sense of tragedy and sparkle, the pop material turns out effective in making its willing viewers crazy over a tale centering on two star-crossed lovers trying to bridge the gap between humans and vampires.

This movie promotes a defiant human-vampire dating fantasy with some girly swirl of obsession for the main audience’s delight. Interestingly so, it doesn’t try hard to be hip for its intended crowd. It is one vampire love affair where sharp teeth, cold hands, and supernatural powers require the viewer to sit back and enjoy the camp. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t work.

The weak CGI isn’t much of an obstruction for this picture to hit big at the box office. Not even the dodgy dialogue nor the lack of a more developed storyline can hinder its success. It may be quite a chore to endure for the unwilling victims; but for its hard-core fans, it sure carries everything well.

The cool references put accessible fangs to its lucrative teen hook-ups. Watch some vampires play baseball, drive the coolest cars, live in a classy glass mansion, climb trees taller than the penthouse of a city skyscraper, and glitter under sunlight. Indeed, it is the kind of vampire flick that can get its pop culture-stricken patrons excited and addicted. It turns out as a blatant attempt to cash in to the devotion of its die-hard followers with a door naturally left open for the next installment..

Director Catherine Hardwicke, along with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, recreates a world where the heroine becomes obsessed with surrender and submission to a man who is constantly tempted to kill her. Now, that is one sucked-up subtext about culture and society that may be worth a psychological study.

This movie is like a vegetarian diet in the vampire movie canon. For those uninitiated and for those outsiders from the movie’s intended demographic, this kind of pop treat is plainly overused, dopey, and melodramatic. The jumble of cuts and pastes from the book, along with the music video bits, the often second-rate visual effects make the movie a hackneyed teenybopper show of synthetic affection.

As a vampire tale, the type of angst it plays around with remains too dull throughout its running tale that its own fangs turn out questionable, especially in the action side of things. There is a lot of build-ups but not much of resolution. The hokey dialogue may just be too much to bear. Unless one can get past the sloppiness and shallowness, there is no way to get really sucked in.

As a fantasy romance involving a self-loathing vampire and his sweet-blooded human beloved, its theme works well with the rising and falling teenage hormonal requirements. Focusing on the palpable chemistry of the main pair Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen to mesmerize the fans, they work well with playing around sidelong glances, twitchy rule-breaking escapades, and head-spinning rushes of the moment — which highlights their intangible yearning and romantic affection for each other. Amidst the overacting parts at times, their on-screen romantic charm really does it all for the movie.

The story best utilizes its principal tandem with such brooding romanticism. Stewart as the introvert Bella is somebody most teens could relate to as an average type with some fairly likeable attributes, a glum expression, and a risky attitude. Pattinson as the 100-ish pale guy with overly red lips and living on a deer blood diet is totally a hit for giggling fans who are completely fascinated with his furrowed eyebrows, crooked smiles, and cool hairstyles.

The members of the supporting cast, though at times looking too superficial for their pale vampire demeanor, generally deliver for the movie’s intentions: Bella’s father and mother Billy Burke as Charlie Swan and Sarah Clarke as Reneee Dwyer; the Cullen clan including Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen, Elizabeth Reaser as Esme Cullen, Kellan Lutz as Emmet Cullen, Jackson Rathbone as Jasper Hale, and Nikki Reed as Rosalie Hale; the vampire antagonists including Cam Gigandet as James, Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria, and Edi Gathegi as Laurent; and Bella’s new school pals and family friends: Christian Serratos as Angela, Anna Kendrick as Jessica Stanley, Michael Welch as Mike Newton, Justin Chon as Eric Yorkie, Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, and Gil Birmingham as Billy Black.

This movie knows what it is meant for. Either one likes it or hates it. It has a sweetly idealistic charm on its own. It pleases its devoted fans, but does little for the uninitiated.

‘Twilight’ Film Review: That willing teen bite
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[Total: 1    Average: 2/5]

Batanes movie review

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‚ÄúBatanes‚ÄĚ is essentially a heartwarming study of a relationship between two cultures. With the tagline ‚ÄúLove knows no borders,‚ÄĚ this flawed but poignant love story explores life and love between different places and cultures. It explores the loss of one‚Äôs will to live because of a love lost, as well as the discovery of new love at an unexpected time. The storytelling may not always be consistent and the technical aspects may be a bit rough at times, but the slice-of-life take on the material allows the film to rise a bit on top of the tides.

‚ÄúBatanes‚ÄĚ establishes an intimate portrait of a woman’s relationship with the sea after her husband‚Äôs tragic passing. Set in the vast landscapes, rough seas, and ever-changing weather of Luzon‚Äôs northernmost paradise island of Batanes, this picturesque romantic story represents the struggle of emotions from the whirlwind romance between the city girl Pam (Iza Calzado) and the Ivatan Rico (Joem Bascon), the simple but happy life they started to embraced in the island, the loss of life and love from the hands of the angry sea, and a new love bestowed in the most unexpected times of mourning.

It is interesting to follow the story of romantic love struggling through the giant sea waves, then bumping into huge, dangerous rocks, if not travailing the serene waves of the waters in a sunny day. Like the relatively unpredictable weather in Batanes, things seem so unexpected, uncontrollable, and at some point, unfair. And as the story progresses, it effectively shows that above all, love is universal and emotions find no boundaries, no language, and no cultural borders in the midst of the most dangerous storms and currents.

‚ÄúBatanes‚ÄĚ is a joint venture of Ignite Media and GMA Films and written and co-directed by Adolf Alix Jr. and Dave Hukom. The story is pretty simple, but it works for the level it has chosen to take. The build up of the story passionately affects the audience for both the painful and happy moments of the main character Pam. This becomes the film‚Äôs main source of strength.

The story begins with Pam‚Äôs newfound love and her embracing of the Ivatan way of life. Like any other person used to urban living, she struggles to adjust to the slower pace of provincial life. She gets rewarded well — with a simple, rural family and a peaceful married life where the sea and weather conditions turn out as the only violent elements around. As Pam‚Äôs Ivatan husband Rico shares with her how the powerful and temperamental sea becomes a jealous lover demanding respect and attention, Pam later finds out what Rico initially meant when she goes head to head with the strength of the mighty waters after Rico‚Äôs death — in the hands of the sea he respects and admires. During her mourning, she sails off to an island and gets stranded in a storm. There, she finds a man lying on the sand. She saves the heartbroken Taiwanese fisherman Kao (Ken Zhu) and brings him to the village. In no time, without any intention of getting things complicated, she starts getting drawn to him, as how he gets drawn to her as well. And despite the language and cultural differences, a new love blooms in the harshest times and amidst their own losses.

Iza Calzado exceptionally plays the main character Pam. Taiwanese star and F4 member Ken Zhu effectively plays the Taiwanese fisherman Kao. Newcomer Joem Bascon renders a compelling performance as Pam’s husband Rico. The film boasts a powerhouse ensemble with Bembol Roco, Daria Ramirez, Julio Diaz, Sid Lucero, Coco Martin, Mike Tan, and Glaiza de Castro.

Love is indeed at the center of this moving and powerful film about the relationship between two cultures. It is a moving story of love crossing the boundaries of language and culture.

‘Batanes’ Film Review: Crossing borders
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A romantic drama set in the gambling world of Las Vegas, “Lucky You” tells the story of¬†Huck Cheever (Eric Bana), a happy-go-lucky bachelor whose life revolves around the green felt poker tables. In between his games, he¬†also confronts his personal conflicts including his problematic relationship with his father.

The film gives a gist of how poker works. It makes the game look generally interesting and less “sinful.” However, for somebody who is not knowledgeable in playing poker at all, it’s hard to catch up with the basic mechanics of the game while watching the film.¬†It¬†straightforwardly shows¬†the grueling world of gambling and betting as the various characters inside this realm create a whole new world of their own. While within the high-stakes back-drop of Las Vegas, they bring us a gist of stories about human relationships, inhabiting a number of snapshots of personal dramas that unfold in every laying out of the cards.

The front story is clear — Huck is a hotshot poker player whose emotions at the table often gets the better of him, amidst his really exceptional skills, especially when he goes heads up with his estranged father, a living legend in the poker world and a two-time world champion L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall). While living a¬†life without clear direction, he meets the struggling singer Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore). From then on, he finds himself¬†keeping up with something more than just poker.

The boy-meets-girl premise clearly features¬†a romantic story in the making. Within the film’s physicality lies a character-driven story based on¬†the usual formula for a Hollywood narrative.

Huck deals with life through his instincts. This enables him to take advantage of his opponents at the poker table. Meanwhile, Billie uses intuition to see the truth and sympathize with what she sees around. As they fall in love, the turn of events shows how their instincts play big parts in their lives. However, their biggest difference becomes more apparent: Huck is a very talented man who uses his instincts to win the games while expertly avoiding emotional connections and long-term commitments at the same time; while Billie lacks talent but she uses her instincts to open her heart while becoming emotionally connected for the sake of what is right and what is good. These two people who are clearly looking for better lives try to gamble for love in a narrative filled with drama, humor, and metaphors.

The characters inhabit certain personalities while following the tried and tested mainstream formula of the main character overcoming adversity and succeeding in the end for that feel good effect. At some point, the film tries to cut the predictable formula by turning a bit away from its predictable twists; however, the mere breaking of it turns out quite syrupy and formulaic still.

With “L.A. Confidential,” “Wonder Boys,” “8 Mile,” and “In Her Shoes” under his belt, director Curtis Hanson tries to¬†keep the story¬†character-driven. Working with scriptwriter Eric Roth (the man behind the Academy Award winning script of “Forrest Gump”), he¬†tends to make the general interior scenes within the poker tables and well-lit hotels and casinos interesting enough for both the big-time and real-life gamblers and those curious ones who are not that familiar with the gamblers’ domain.

‘Lucky You’ Film Review: A poker life
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Average

 

 

Behind its eerie theme, Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” presents a morbid and romantic trip between the cold dwelling place of the living and the colorful nderground world of the dead. Fun, genial, expressive, and charming, this semi-musical stop-motion piece is set at death’s door, saluting the liberating power of true love and sacrifice.

The story revolves around a young groom-to-be who mistakenly weds a girl from the grave and complicates his upcoming marriate to the womaan he loves.

The directors paint death as a more colorful plane of existence compared to life, as literally shown on the visuals — a bitterly cold presentation of the world of the living as compared to the colorful and musically vivid world of the rotting flesh. It turns out there is more life at the dead’s company.

The engaging story, the expressionistic visuals, and the heart for the very statement it wants to insinuate make an overall witty animated tale. It is whimsical yet eerie, funny but melancholic. On a light, side-splitting note, it promotes a necrophiliac entertainment which can find a good place at the hearts of people who like watching a pile of bones set in an ironic and animated space, whether or not it is the Halloween season.

Tim Burton, along with co-director Mike Johnson, ventures into the world of stop-motion animation for this motion picture, rendering that tedious job of hand-manipulating characters that move incrementally to be shot frame by frame.

So how tedious can this work be? A film is a moving picture. Each frame is shot. Each shot becomes 1 frame. From 1 frame to another, the movements are incrementally shown over a certain period of time. For a TV show, there are generally 30 fps (frames per second). In film, the standard is 24fps. Taking it from here, one can just imagine the challenge of shooting each frame of “Corpse Bride” with 24 shots to be done for a 1-second clip of the film, 48 shots for a 2-second clip, and so on. Each frame is carefully shot with human hands, rightfully moving the different parts of the body of each character for 1 frame, then move all the body parts very incrementally to shoot the next frame and make sure everything complements the previous movement of one particular character. Each frame requires very dexterous hands moving the subject creatively and effectively. According to IMDB.com, instead of film cameras, tthe filmmakers used 31 commercial digital still photography cameras, particularly the Canon EOS-1D MARK 2 SLR, interestingly with Nikon lenses.

The musical score by Danny Elfman, just like Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter who are Burton’s frequent collaborators, makes a delightful mix of flight of fancy for the film. A stylistic and touching moment to create a more human tone on the love story is shown in many ways as the accurately presented piano scene of Victor and the Corpse Bride. Overall, the musical parts are very flourishing. As usual, Burton’s team makes up a new world out of the dark and expressionistic style Burton is known for.

The story is not as refined as the usual art-house works. But this film makes a poetic form out of what it has. Its minor flaws are easily overlooked as the eyes roll over its Burtonesque-style of storytelling. Its imaginatively done puppetry promotes a dark and grand fairy tale brimming with quirky characters and gothic sets.

“Corpse Bride” is a darkly enchanting tale about the celebration of love that is told in a quirky, gothic, and ironic style. It has the courage to address issues about love and sacrifice and life and death in a shadowy, poetic, and creatively bizarre way.

‘Corpse Bride’ Film Review: A charming grave fairy tale
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[Total: 3    Average: 2.7/5]

Nasaan Ka Man movie review

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Set in the fog-covered, cold, and mysterious Baguio which reflects¬†the story’s mood and atmosphere, “Nasaan Ka Man” explores¬†the tale of tragic love and passion, undying memories, unfulfilled promises, and lost dreams.

The film¬†opens with a horror feel crawling into its slowly¬†unfolding love story — musing into a suspense-filled route¬†that somehow extends to the issues of the paranormal. A touch of horror gets injected every now and then.

The plot¬†takes on different hues and dimensions for¬†the usual love-triangle fare. Filled with metaphors, finely orchestrated camera movements, and breathtaking visuals, the film’s¬†heaviness works well with its cinematographical style and acting¬†performances. Many visual elements absorb deep-rooted emotions, which are often troubling, secretive, mysterious, violent, or¬†painful.

The narrative revolves around the three adoptive children of two spinster sisters. An epitome of a happy, religious, and conservative family from the outside, this unique family set-up is filled with repression and tragic memories from the inside. Family complications, jealousy, and revenge try to tear them apart. The composite world the two sisters created for their three adoptive children becomes a contrived space of fragility and emotional disturbance of varying magnitudes.

The screenplay by Ricky Lee and Rafael Hidalgo, as well as the direction by Cholo Laurel, offer convincing justification on what happens in the story. This cinematic offering’s direction¬†provides rich characterization for the ensemble cast. Each major character is well-crafted both inside and out. On the physical, emotional, and psychological planes, the viewers¬†can see through each¬†of the characters’ persona.¬†The¬†gray characters aptly contribute to the story structure’s suspense and complications.

The quirkiness of Trining‚Äôs (Hilda Coronel) slightly deaf character and her¬†passive¬†bearing to her sister’s authority inside their prison-like home becomes a source of comic relief for the serious tale. Lilia‚Äôs (Gloria Diaz) domineering old-maid stance covers up her sadness through her flair for make-up. Pilar‚Äôs (Claudine Baretto) initially loving and innocent nature transforms¬†into a confounded, fear-stricken temperament. Her opened third eye and her being a product of sin and violence are later revealed as part¬†of the family’s deep secrets. Joven‚Äôs (Jericho Rosales) kind, introvert bearing as the outcast adopted child ironically¬†grows up filled with inspiration and thoughtfulness through¬†his love for¬†Pilar. Ito‚Äôs (Diether Ocampo) overprotected adolescent son¬†leads to jealousy and trouble as his¬†repression from his silent obedience to the rules of the house gets the better of him.

Pilar and Joven fight for their love until they are finally granted the family’s blessing. Ito, totally-wrecked by this, gets his revenge by violating Pilar. Trining is sympathetic to Pilar’s plight, but Lilia is more concerned with his favorite son Ito. The deliberation among them becomes a realistic reflection of how it goes within a typically conservative Filipino family in such turmoil. As the story progresses, Ito rages further as he knows he really can‚Äôt own¬†Pilar‚Äôs heart. Soon, violence causes a tragic death in the family.

There is parallelism between the fate of the spinsters and their adopted children. Though there are some questions on the believability of the storyline, the suspension of disbelief in the turn of events works beyond the issues of realism and paranormal insights.

Baretto delivers a¬†complicated and delicate portrayal as Pilar.¬†Her¬†rape scene is truly gripping. The tight and distorted shots greatly contribute to the story’s heavily emotional moments.¬†The¬†said scene¬†deliberately gives the¬†worst feeling for the viewer. There is enough room for steady development with¬†the dynamics between the sibling characters¬†of Rosales¬†and Ocampo.¬†The chemistry between¬†the spinster sibling roles of Diaz and Koronel¬†effectively utilizes silence and shock to push the material¬†further. Irma Adlawan‚Äôs character as a blind helper with¬†an opened third eye and Katherine Luna as her daughter who turns out as¬†a willing victim at a certain point in¬†the story both become the weaving factors in¬†the narrative.

The film is filled with a number of intense scenes of romance, argumentation, and fighting. The love scenes are passionate and gentle. The dramatic scenes are subtle and sincere. The violent scenes are painful and suggestive.

The scene where Pilar is asked to check the fuse after a blackout while suspense on Ito’s revenge is at its peak seems quite forced into the story just to get her into a dark spot alone. This becomes more unbelievable as a sane person in danger won’t choose to check the fuse at¬†such time¬†and would¬†rather choose to save his or her¬†life, or at least prioritize being on the safe side, especially during a clearly compromised situation.

Although most of its twists resemble the twists of thriving Hollywood offerings, the storytelling maintains a well-handled exposition for the most part.

“Nasaan Ka Man” is emotionally tying and it won‚Äôt give that feel-good mood after watching it. Yet, even with¬†a considerably depressing ending, this motion picture is a must-see for those who can take a certain form of heaviness in a film. Amidst its story loopholes, it¬†can still work well for those who prefer pondering on what life has to offer and how people should¬†value things¬†and situations given to them or are still with them.

‘Nasaan Ka Man’ Film Review: A bittersweet tale
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Can This Be Love movie review

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Average

“Can This Be Love” is a simple love story captalizing on the charm¬†of¬†one of the most popular love teams in the country — Hero Angeles and Sandara Park. In this movie, they are two very different people who prove that love can bloom amidst cultural differences. In a larger scope, it offers¬†a gist of the economic issues that push the young Filipinos to find the greener pasture elsewhere in the globe.

This film has a very traditional love story featuring a foreigner who finds it hard to adjust life in another country and gets branded as a weirdo along the way and a Filipino working student who struggles to finish school.

The story exposes the lives of the University Belt (U-belt) students. Ryan (Hero Angeles) is a Nursing student who does¬†part-time work as a term paper typist. Like the mentality of most people today, he has a clear goal to leave the country to work abroad and become financially stable. Meanwhile, Daisy (Sandara Park) is a Korean exchange student who comes to the Philippines to study English. One day, Ryan gets to work on the worst term paper ever written entitled “What is Wrong With Filipinos?” Ryan gets pissed with both the countless grammatical errors and the nasty words used against Filipinos by an annoying Korean stranger. It turns out that the Korean he hates so much is the same girl he starts texting quite dearly after a cellphone-buying negotiation.

The ironic thing for the two is that their sweet friendship starts blossoming while they are textmates, then¬†the aggravation for the term paper issue increases further — until he discovers that the girl who has become his dear textmate and the owner of the rude term paper is the Korean girl Daisy. From here, their cultural differences and the language barrier they have to contend with pave way to their bonding, their realizations, and their more open and mature minds.

The romantic scenes clearly feed the fans with the “kilig moments” they often seek for. The song-and-dance numbers rendered as comic relief to the story reflect the vibe of 1980s movies.

The many close-up¬†shots give ample facial expressions¬†on screen, which helps carry a more intimate feel to the scenes. However, the editing is not always seamless. At times, the scenes drag, especially when the characters’ lines become too verbose.

Supporting actor Roderick Paulate is worth mentioning, as he keeps the momentum in the story through his powerful delivery of comic lines.

At times, the make-up of¬†actresses’ Park and Roxanne Guinoo get too heavy and quite distracting on screen. Even the make-up of actor Angeles end up too heavy for a guy’s make-up on screen. There’s too much lipstick and foundation, which at times are not even on his face and neck.

A number of sponsors have very noticeable appearances throughout the movie. Most are Park’s various endorsements, followed by those from Angeles, Guinoo, and Joross Gamboa. Amidst adding such elaborate advertising details, the production ignores the flaws in simple plot details such as Daisy’s really bulky pieces of luggage being easily transported to the cab, as if they don’t have anything inside.

The idea of coming up with scrapbooks for the time lapse of the future years in the lives of Ryan and Daisy turns out¬†appealing to its target market.¬†However, this doesn’t visually empower the main conflict of the narrative. There is also no clear climax in the story, amidst being a movie set up with a very mainstream structure. The ending feeds the viewers with the finished product right away with no hurdles or struggles to spice up the storytelling for a sweeter, more fulfilling end.

‘Can This Be Love’ Film Review: The U-belt flick
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Let the Love Begin movie review

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Average

“Let the Love Begin” is GMA Films’ comeback movie after a four-year hiatus. The film outfit’s last movie before it was the 2000 film “Death Row.” Prior¬†to this, they¬†produced a few¬†other projects¬†including “Jose Rizal,” “Sa Pusod ng Dagat,” and “Muro Ami” — all of which were given due credit by a number of award-giving bodies. But this time, GMA Films comes back with a light love story that¬†is quite different from its usual roster¬†of cinematic offerings.

“Let the Love Begin”¬†hangs on such a simple premise¬†that is pretty much scripted into contrivance throughout. The story spans a very long time frame and the way the scenes¬†unfold on screen doesn’t¬†employ much¬†credibility. Except for the fresh¬†faces, everything looks¬†recycled. It’s the same¬†old story, same elements, same formula.¬†The movie presents generic dialogue with highlights including¬†a dramatic scene with rain effect. The conflict involves parents who are¬†against their children’s romantic engagements.¬†Not to say that these would automatically render any¬†movie worthless, but the fact that it doesn’t add any new flavor or statement to at least put a bit more flair to the¬†storytelling, this overused love story really looks worn out — it is as if it merely relies on its bankable stars to get an¬†audience. Perhaps…

The narrative¬†traces the main characters’ lives¬†from their high school years to their careers in the corporate world. Its¬†straightforward love story features the usual poor boy meets rich girl tale. Eric (Richard Gutierrez), a brainy orphan raised by his grandmother (Gloria Romero), works as a janitor in a school where he attends night classes. Meanwhile, Pia (Angel Locsin) radiates an Elle-type of character in “Legally Blonde” less Elle’s intellect. Rich, spoiled, and more interested in gimmicks than studying, this¬†“socialized kikay” is raised by her father (Tonton Gutierrez) and no information about her¬†mother gets revealed in the narrative. Their¬†romance turns out as¬†predictable as it can get. Then, from nowhere comes the text shown on screen saying “after five years.” Time suddenly passes. No creative or thematic transitions whatsoever.¬†This time, Eric, still nursing a wounded heart when Pia studied in the United States, is still a janitor and he is working in Pia’s company.

The movie’s¬†second love story concerns Luigi (Mark Herras), a high-school playboy who ignores his tomboyish best friend Alex (Jennylyn Mercado). Again, time suddenly passes. No creative or thematic transition whatsoever. This time, after college, Alex blooms into an attractive young photographer and she wins the heart of the former womanizer Luigi.

This formulaic piece primarily shows a predictable series of events where slow-motion effects add that “pa-cute and pakilig factor” for the consumption of the main cast’s fans. In fact, the storytelling focuses too much on this that the script lapses and production flaws get worse as the story moves on.

The Tagaytay breather gives a light relief to the tiring and annoying elements in the movie. The “kilig factor” for the savior Eric and his beloved Pia fuel such a saccharine moment, particularly on the latter part of the narrative. To be fair to its being a clearly fan-made piece more than anything else, its mainstream ingredients are aptly engineered to make the fans swoon and scream, rooting for the love teams on screen as expected.

This fan movie is reminisent of the romantic offerings of the 1980s. It breathes life to its tired story by adding a heavy dose of crowd-pleasing commercial elements for the masses to consume.

Eveything in this picture¬†from the story and dialogue to the camera shots and blocking work like a teenybopper TV show — only that, it’s expensively shot on 35mm film. Bit players move back and forth at the background in unrealistic ways. Blocking problems abound. There’s¬†a man walking to his house, then he goes out, goes from one side of the frame to the opposite frame at every cue, and so on. A number of backgrounders including one inside the church look very conscious in every screen appearance. This goes to show that the production only¬†prioritizes the main cast and those bit players serve as¬†mere props on screen — which isn’t an ideal thing to do in a filmmaking endeavor. In terms of putting value to film language, all elements big or small in a scene should work hand in hand in setting up the frame — or at least avoid the annoyance of seeing backgrounders uselessly walking back and forth on the same shot.

Actors just provide lip service with their speaking lines. Tension-filled and dramatic scenes don’t¬†even make the most sensitive viewer get¬†a faster heartbeat.

This movie has nothing much to offer for the evolving taste of moviegoers. Nevertheless, in keeping with the tried-and-tested formula, this mainstream flick uses the chemistry between Gutierrez and Locsin in order to reach their targeted fans for a generic romantic ride.

‘Let the Love Begin’ Film Review: Taking the generic ride
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Dreamboy movie review, Star Cinema

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Average

“Dreamboy”¬†is a commercial treat targeting those who want to get a pinch of love from a feel-good romantic tale. It talks about a game of chances in love. So much risks at stake. Yet, as the cliche goes, “Love conquers all.”¬†It turns out that the story springs up from the fact that TV networks are going gaga over reality shows’¬†newfound potential for better TV ratings.

The film reveals a usual girl-meets-boy premise¬†backed up with a slightly fresh flow of storytelling. The major plotpoints kick off with the romantic meet-ups between the clueless spectator Cyd (Bea Alonzo) and the ideal guys Phillip, Eboy, and Jaime (Piolo Pascual).¬†The movie’s massive publicity and promotions make it a point not to dwell much with this romantic comedy flick’s¬†narrative structure so as not to break the suspense for¬†people watching it on the big screen.

“Dreamboy” plunges into the domain¬†of the salesgirl Cyd, an ultimate fanatic of romance novels. She is in constant search for her “dreamboy,” her soulmate, as how her pocketbooks suggest. Soon, she meets Phillip, the son of the owner of the supermart where she works. In the next few days, their encounter leads to a whirlwind romance. But it turns out their fairytale readily¬†needs¬†to end as complications between their economic differences confront them.

While still mending a broken¬†heart,¬†Cyd meets¬†the adventurous, athletic, and “kanto boy-type” Eboy. Cyd sees uncanny resemblance between Phillip and Eboy. Eboy’s rugged personality as a guy who says and acts what he wants without much thinking takes over¬†a new space in Cyd’s heart. As they go through several thrilling adventures together, Cyd falls for the rough guy. But just when she is ready to submit to her feelings for him, she¬†feels betrayed upon¬†learning¬†about her new man’s¬†past escapades with other women.

While¬†trying to get over both Phillip and Eboy, Jaime pops into Cyd’s¬†birthday bash. Though she sees some similarities and a few doubts among the three guys, she¬†keeps her thoughts to herself. As Cyd¬†and Jaime spend more time with each other in Jaime’s¬†rural hometown, their love starts blossoming in par with nature’s wonders. From here, the story gets clearer as it continues to unveil the reality TV show behind the poor victim Cyd. It turns out that Cyd’s search for her dreamboy is actually a molded scenario for¬†a TV station’s reality search.

The script dwells in¬†the emotions presented in life’s¬†harsh realities. The story talks about the dream of finding true love and the sincerity that pushes it forward. It starts with a rather ordinary romantic storyline, dialogue,¬†and treatment, but it ends in a not entirely¬†predictable way. It shows the interesting facets of Cyd’s¬†dreamy, romantic character coming to life as his dreamboy of the moment creates a colorful world for the two of them — each time.

This rom-com offering’s production design compliments its glossy cinematography, which is, as expected, in line¬†with the traditionally glossy Star Cinema look. Pinks and yellows work as highlights¬†in the many scenes’¬†bright and pastel combinations. Targeting the hopeless romantic audience, the dreamy, fairytale-esque moments set¬†in picturesque locations promote¬†a feel-good effect crafted¬†for mass consumption.

However, the production design lacks consistency. The screen is always filled with saturated elements and fillers including paintings, “kikay things,” frames, cloths, and furniture. There is no much room for vacant spaces. Overtly done to make the set a seemingly designed structure in favor of the camera, the scenes exude a contrived and somewhat fake-looking sense of space. Worse, some shocking props shown inside the room of the girly and romance-stricken Cyd are just horrible. An establishing shot of Cyd’s room before showing her on frame reveals a cloth or a sort of painting of “Che Guevarra,” plus another clearly similar shot showing a print with the appalling combination of words like “I am a Hippie.” Generally, there is nothing wrong with such elements — except if they clearly don’t coincide with the character’s established personality. In the case of Cyd’s characterization, there is no sign of a hippie Cyd. In fact, there is no single suggestion of her being a punk or a non-conformist type of lady. It’s as if these elements are simply utilized as props either because the production people personally like them or they think the colors or shapes of these props can¬†simply fill up the vacant spaces seen on frame — without any concern on reponsible storytelling.

Throughout, the movie remains mostly cut to cut from one scene to the next. Many shots promote mass appeal. Camerawork is typical for a motion picture meant to push the button for the audience’s love story-escapism mode. The tight shots typically utilize slow-motion effects to add that generic romantic flair.

With the¬†wide demography and mass appeal of the current “teleserye” princess Bea Alonzo and the quintesseShe exudes the modern and “non-pakipot” type of female character.ntial heartthrob Piolo Pascual, they deliver¬†a considerably fine charisma and rapport as a screen pair.

Though Cyd is a hopeless romantic, she is a smart girl and a fighter who knows how to play the game even while in the midst of emotional conflict. She exudes the modern and “non-pakipot” type of female character. She is not a shallow character capsulized with that traditional Maria Clara stance or passive Cinderella persona. She doesn’t yield to the fall upon learning that she is a victim of a reality TV show.

The characters Phillip, Eboy, and Jaime become effective stimuli to unveil the hibernating colors in Cyd’s character. The depth of these two major characters further develops as the story pushes forward.

The voiceovers are not very catchy at first. But as the tale progresses, they become justifiable. However, some plot mechanics raise questions left unanswered in a satisfying manner by the film’s end.

Sponsors, tie-ups, and x-deals are very much apparent in the movie. More often than not, the product shots of hair and grocery products, brands of clothes, among others get too much attention on screen. Not bad if subtly, strategically, and creatively done, but the production usually goes way overboard that the said elements already feel like serious storytelling distractions.

This motion-picture project can work like an experiment for its producer — whether such premise for a reality show could actually be done and how the masses would probably take it.

‘Dreamboy’ Film Review: Magic word — reality romance
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