Category Archives: Movies

Beauty and the Beast

ONE WORD: It was… memorable.

I was probably 13 when I watched “Beauty and the Beast” movie animation back in 1991 in the big screen. And there is one scene from the animation that remained stuck in my head, the teapot voiced by Angela Lansbury (of TV series “Murder She Wrote” which me and my siblings watched back in the 80s) who was singing the title song while Belle and the Beast were dancing the night away. Now this scene, that song is one that I could effortlessly remember, what my heart remembers.

But I can’t remember how they met, what’s the story about. Even most of the songs there I almost forgot already. For sure, the Beast would turn into a handsome prince. That’s all that I could recall after so many years, experiences, phases in my so-called life that went by, that happened.

Fast forward to 2017, or 26 years later, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in live action with stars led by Emma Watson as Belle/ Beauty was so memorable. It brought back pleasant feelings, made me feel young and at the same time old. I love everyone here, every character in the story, of course the story itself (now I remember them all, thank you!), even Gaston the contrabida just simply because he sings his heart out here and sang better than Beauty, than the Beast, than anyone in the cast.

At the opening, just seeing the Walt Disney castle logo slowly and magically appearing on the big screen with “When You Wish Upon A Star” music accompaniment to signal the start of the movie, I started feeling emotional. It made me teary-eyed. (I guess it’s because the past week was kind of frustrating. The music gave me that release.)

If you want to reward yourself, to give yourself a pat on the back, watch this movie. I really think grown-ups more than the kids should watch this. Why? Just check it out for yourself. I wish there’d be a DVD copy of this movie soon. So I could watch BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as many times as I want.

A Dog’s Purpose

“What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this?”

These are the questions ask by a… well, a dog.

A DOG’S PURPOSE, based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron, tells the story of Bailey the dog who lives and dies but reincarnates to every different era, different owner. And because he dies then gets to be born again as a different breed of dog with again a different owner, that’s when he started to ponder about the meaning of life, about his purpose on earth.

It was the 60s and Bailey remembered it well, that moment when a boy named Ethan and his mother discovered him inside a locked car, almost dying. They saved him from his abusive owners. After the rescue, Ethan wanted to keep the puppy. The father of Ethan did not like having a dog around the house but with much prodding from the mother, the father reluctantly gave his approval. Bailey was so happy as much as the boy was. They were the best of friends. Bailey liked running around the house, running after the cat, and most especially, playing with Ethan the boy. But what Bailey did not understand was when the father came home one day getting mad over the scattered papers on the floor that he had fun doing. He also didn’t get it when he wasn’t allowed anymore to stay inside the house, or stay inside Ethan’s room. But Bailey the dog still found a way to get close to the boy. For he knew how to climb up to the window of Ethan’s room.

It was the 70s and Ethan had grown into a handsome teenager. He’s also an excellent soccer player in their high school. Then he met this beautiful girl. Bailey felt the energy from his master so he did not understand why Ethan’s not approaching the girl so Bailey made the first move. Bailey sniffed the girl’s butt. So there they were, Ethan was forced to talk with the beautiful girl, and he was apologizing for what his dog did. Her name was Hannah. That was the beginning of a wonderful love story between Ethan and Hannah.

Like in every story, when there is a protagonist, there is the antagonist. For there was another teenaged boy, a schoolmate of Ethan, who was so insecure and full of envy about Ethan being so good in soccer and all. Couldn’t contain his anguish for not being the “star” of their school, one night, this teenaged boy played a prank. But that small prank led to a house fire. Bailey, who was staying outside the house saw everything, ran towards the culprit ’til the teenaged boy ran away. Bailey remembered his family inside, Ethan and the mother, so he quickly climbed to Ethan’s room to wake him up. Ethan, the mother (now separated from her husband), and Bailey got out alive from the fire.

But Ethan’s leg was terribly injured. He’s not allowed to play the soccer anymore. It would take time for his leg to heal. College had to take a backseat. And those dreams that he and Hannah thought about together, for Ethan, they’ve become meaningless. He pushed Hannah away. Wanting to be alone and feel his misery even more, he gave away his dog to his grandparents then left. This made Bailey the dog very sad. Bailey missed Ethan very much.

Bailey was becoming weak as days went by. His old owners could not figure out how to keep Bailey feel well despite giving him everything. For Bailey, he just felt like he had lost his reason to live when Ethan left. But he was there, Ethan was there before Bailey closed his eyes and drew his last breath.

Bailey opened his eyes and he was born again. He’s no longer Bailey but Buddy, a female canine and his master was no longer Ethan but a grown-up, a policeman who had been training him on strenuous exercises as if there was a big work to do. But Buddy (Bailey) was enjoying the flow, for she felt like she was in-charge. She and her master gained applaud and awards for their accomplishments. But back home, it was a different story. The policeman was alone and very sad. A picture frame of the policeman beside a woman (must be his wife) was a clue that the policeman had been married but was now all alone. Buddy felt the sadness from her master that she thought being alone must be a terrible thing for a human to experience. So Buddy became a faithful dog to her melancholic master. Until she got shot during a police operation. The policeman–who for a long time was saving lives with the help of his ever loyal dog and for a long time in a state of catatonia whenever he thought about his wife–finally shed tears and embraced his dog very warmly to say goodbye.

Bailey opened his eyes and he was born again. It was the 80s. He’s again a he but his name was Tino, a name given to him by his new owner, Maya, a college female student. They enjoyed being together. Tino and Maya both liked pizza and ice cream. Maya loved Tino very much that Tino felt his role was to be a constant companion to his master who was kind and generous to him. But Tino had always known his master’s longings: to meet the man of her dreams. Who must love dogs, who will accept her for who she is. It seemed the universe had conspired to fulfill this single wish of this beautiful woman. In the park when she was teaching Tino to exercise (who was getting lazy and fat), she met a boy who was also walking his dog in the park. It wasn’t love at first sight for Maya but the boy pursued her. Then Maya fell in love with the boy. In later years, the boy asked her hand for marriage and Maya’s dream had finally come true, to be with the man, maybe not the man of her dreams, but be with the man who loves her dearly and whom she loves also. They lived as a happy, contented couple with their dogs. Tino died of old age.

Bailey opened his eyes and he was born again. He was adopted by a lady whose life with her husband was full of miseries, a hard life for they’re living in poverty. For the first time in Bailey’s life, from being a puppy to becoming a big dog, he’s tied to something ’round the clock not allowed to move around. He’s not allowed to play. He was always left alone outside. The only time that he gets to have a bonding time with his lady master was when it was time to feed him. Day in, day out, rain or shine, Bailey was just outside the house. He felt the burning heat of the sun and the wrenching coldness of the night. He could feel that the husband of his lady master did not like him. Until one night, the husband dragged Bailey to the pickup car then left him out there, in the middle of nowhere just to get rid of him.

Now abandoned, Bailey was sad but he felt it was sadder if he go back there in the house. He became a stray dog, walking all by himself without a purpose, not knowing where to go.

Reaching a certain place, he smelled something familiar. He smelled this guy. A grownup guy. It was Ethan!

The Ethan that he knew now was different but to Bailey, the man would always remain to be the boy whom he had never forgotten. For Bailey, Ethan was his home. Of course, the adult Ethan was clueless about this, about what’s happening in the dog who did not want to leave his front door after giving him food. It’s been a long time. Ethan already have wrinkles on his face. He was living all by himself.

But what seemed to be a mundane encounter between a grownup Ethan and a dog (Bailey, whom adult Ethan later on adopted and named Ellie) turned out to be a good fortune in waiting, as if the stars and the universe conspired in his favor. With Ellie by his side, he got excited again about his life, and it was because of Ellie (or Bailey) that he met again right on his own doorstep his first love, Hannah. Hannah by this time was a widow and had one daughter and three grandchildren.

The movie did not end showing Bailey or Ellie dying again. The movie ended on a happy note, with Bailey watching over his human companions, Ethan and Hannah, now happily married.

“What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Is there a point to any of this?”

Bailey already knew now his purpose: To have fun. To save lives. To bring people closer. And just live in the present moment.

My Ex and Whys

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Got high expectations for this movie because the director was Cathy Garcia-Molina. But because it’s obvious that the producers of this movie interfered with the creative process just so it could make money from the fans of LizQuen and also, from curious moviegoers like me, the result is like… well to say that it’s a trash would be harsh but it’s more like a…recycled material. Because what I saw there was all too familiar. No, it’s NOT because I could relate with the story, not that. It’s because the scenes and situations there have been used already in a couple of romcoms that I saw in the past or in the last four years of going to the movies.Girl meets boy. They fall in love with each other. Boy commits a single but grave mistake. Girl becomes terribly heartbroken. Girl becomes a man-hater. Boy tries to win her back. Girl avoids him because she hasn’t fully recovered from that hurt. Boy gives up. Girl realizing her pride now runs after the boy. Boy and girl are now together again. And they live happily ever after.

However, there was a silver lining to that dark cloud. Not just one but two silver linings. I sat for two hours to a replay of a plot that I’ve seen so many times, but, a big BUT:

1) I appreciated the character played by Ryan Bang, the best friend of the two lead characters who was about to get married and got into trouble because of Calista’s (Liza Soberano) vengeful schemes to destroy her ex, Gio (Enrique Gil). And when Ryan’s character discovered the evil tactic of Calista in cohorts with her other friends, that scene where he got mad asking her what did he do to her to receive that kind of evil prank, and even if he learned that it was really intended for the ex, wow, that was cathartic. At that moment I got really annoyed at Liza’s character.

2) There was one line there, a positive message that I find really nice: “Lahat tayo may unlimited failures, unlimited mistakes. Pero binigyan din tayo ng unlimited options, unlimited chances.” Not the exact words but something like that.

After writing this, I realized that MY EX AND WHYs is not a bad movie after all. Go see and watch this if you just want to sit back and relax and be inspired.

John Wick Chapter 2

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“John Wick is an example of a Hollywood gun pornography…”

Whoever wrote that and whatever that means I thought the movie was… heartwarming… inspiring… empowering… 😀

It was Christmas season, last year, when I happened to catch the TV screening of JOHN WICK starring Keanu Reeves in Channel 2’s Sunday Blockbusters. Introduction pa lang, I got hooked already. Just because of a dog. Then one thing led to another. I also got hooked to the suspense, to the lead character: a melancholic, unassuming guy whose wife had died of sickness. After her death, John Wick received a gift, what his departed wife planned all along unbeknownst to him: a puppy to keep him company.

John Wick misses his wife, thinks about her all the time. He only wanted a quiet, peaceful life, in the company of a dog.

Until one day, John Wick came across a crook guy in a gas station who wanted to buy his car. John Wick politely said it’s not for sale. On the same day, in the middle of the night, John Wick was awakened hearing the puppy making a noise and when he got to the sala, he got hit on the head by masked men. The puppy went mad, so the masked men slaughtered the puppy. They ran away stealing his car.

The bad men were wrong to underestimate the appearance of John Wick. For John Wick was the most feared assassin. Just hearing the name John Wick, leaders of bad syndicates would tremble. And now that the assassin in him was awakened because of his stolen car and the death of his puppy, he now wanted revenge. And that’s what he set out to do and it was a mission he accomplished perfectly. He became one-track mind, hungry and thirsty for blood, on the search to kill those responsible who killed his puppy and stole his car. And boy, if you’re a moviegoer and you’re mad at someone, or going through something, and you imagine that you’re John Wick, the movie can be a form of catharsis.

In John Wick Chapter 2 (which I caught in cinema), he got a new dog. A pitbull. He really wanted to retire from his old life. You know, just live a normal life. But then it was his past that kept following him when in the middle of the night, a man with minions visited him offering him a job to kill his (the man’s) sister. John Wick refused. He said he’s not that guy anymore. The man reminded him of the pact they made before. He refused. Little did he know that his refusal would leave him with a house burned down shortly after the man left. He almost got killed. But his dog–who had no name–was alive. Left with no choice, no home, he surrendered to the man’s request. But with one condition: once he fulfills his mission, he will completely retire from killing people. However, after John Wick accomplished the task, the minions of his client were now after him to die. Betrayed, John Wick was again left with no choice but to fight back.

Bitin ang John Wick Chapter 2 so I’m looking forward to Chapter 3.

Leap of faith

“There’s no such thing as ready. You just jump on a moving train and you try not to die.”

~From the movie, What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Barcelona, A Love Untold

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The cheapest and easiest way to travel around the world is to watch a movie inside a big dark room or theatre with a big screen. And so, I watched “BARCELONA, A LOVE UNTOLD.”

Okay, that’s my GOOD reason. And there’s this other one: the REAL reason.

My real reason is that I wanted to feel kilig, to see this typical love story of a boy and a girl who serindipitously will meet in Barcelona and fall in love. Typical isn’t it? Naaah! It’s NOT what you think this movie is. And I love it! I’ve been saving my P200 for this KathNiel movie, and it is worth every cent. Two hours and 15 minutes inside the dark theatre, forgetting all my cares in the world, was a time well spent.

But let me make this clear. I am not a fan of KathNiel. For the benefit of the uninitiated, KathNiel is the merging of the first names of one of the famous loveteams in our country today, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, talents of ABS-CBN.

But I love their chemistry!

As an avid TV viewer, I saw Kathryn grow up before my eyes who has this top caliber acting as a little girl in this drama series, who can do comedy in Going Bulilit, and upon reaching her puberty, was groomed by ABS-CBN to be one of our beautiful leading ladies in local movies. When I first saw Kathryn as a child, if I were a talent manager, I thought she got so many things she can do that I would build her up. She’s got so much in her that I felt were just hiding behind her pretty face and sweet demeanour. She looks boring sometimes but wait ’til you see her in this movie. Ang ganda-ganda ng mukha nya, she’s so lovely to watch, hindi nakakasawa. She really has it, the acting chops. When she was put in a loveteam years ago, I thought she lost it. I thought it deteriorated. So kudos to the director, Olivia M. Lamasan. I thought Kathryn was great, too, in “She’s Dating a Gangster,” the first KathNiel movie I saw. And because of that pleasant experience, I went to see this, “Barcelona, A Love Untold” just last night. And thank you for all those wonderful advice and here’s hoping I could apply it in my life.

I smiled, I got thrilled, I cried, and came out of the theatre with a big, sweet smile on my face after watching “Barcelona, A Love Untold.” And please, watch this in the cinema.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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ARE YOU A PECULIAR?

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is the first novel written by Ransom Riggs. Got the chance to grab hold of this uniquely engaging and delightful to read book two years ago, a children’s book, so even if you’re 90 years old you must definitely read this (unless you’ve lost or let go already of that childhood innocence, that sense of wonder and awe). And so, I was super duper excited when I learned that this was turned into a movie last year, directed by Tim Burton, who, by the way, directed the unforgettable and funny and weird 1988 movie, “Beetlejuice,” where I first saw Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton as a child.

I caught the movie adaptation on its second day of showing last September 29 in Philippine cinema. Though there are parts in the book that I’ve forgotten already, particularly the ending haha, I am definitely sure that there have been some parts from the book that weren’t followed by the scriptwriter or by Tim Burton. Example, in the book, the one who can do the levitation is Olive but in the movie, it was Emma, the love interest of Jake the male lead protagonist, who can do the levitation and can fly. There’s a scene from the book that would have been scary to watch but I didn’t get to see that in the movie probably because it’s hard to condense a 382-page book into a 2-hour film. I sensed that the intention may have been this: That if you’re busy and don’t have time to read the book, catch the movie adaptation to get a glimpse of what are written in the book. That this is for the kids and for the kid-at-heart. If you’ve lost that kid in you already, you wouldn’t appreciate the movie, even a tiny bit. In my case, after watching the movie, and though I’ve read the book once, I am curious to read the story again. And read its second and third novel of the continuing story.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a story of Jake who had been told by his grandfather of so many magical and scary things while growing up and his grandpa said they’re all true and he, as a little boy, believed all of them. Like the peculiar children in Miss Peregrine’s house that can do amazing things, that have mysterious abilities. When Jake became a teenager, he started to doubt his grandpa’s stories until he saw the tragic death of his grandpa, until he saw a strange image that may seem to prove that his grandpa’s weird and strange stories could be true. Until one day, after being allowed by his psychiatrist to take that trip to this island that his grandpa strongly advised him to go before he passed on, he met these peculiar children in a time loop. A time loop where a day is being repeated over and over again and nobody gets old while they stay in the house of Miss Peregrine, also a peculiar that could turn herself into a bird and stop and manipulate time, to protect themselves from monsters called the Hallowgasts who crave for peculiar children’s eyes and eat them to gain power, strength and dominate their world. And Jake, who wasn’t aware that he was a peculiar, too, was given this tremendous responsibility of protecting the rest of the surviving peculiar children for he was the only one who can see them.

August in Tokyo

Grabbed the opportunity to catch some of the films shown during EIGA SAI 2016/ Japanese Film Festival from August 17 to 20, 2016 at the UP Film Institute. I saw five out of the eleven films shown:

1. THE GREAT PASSAGE, about a geeky, awkward, introvert salesman who accepted a job in the dictionary department– a job that no young guns are interested in applying to– in the nick of time when he was about to be kicked out from the sales department. He was about to face the most challenging task of creating the most unique dictionary to be called The Great Passage that took more than a decade to finish. Note: This film changed the way I look at dictionaries: high respect for the people behind its creation. I never really thought about how dictionaries are made until I saw this film.

2. KEN AND KAZU, about two friends who were drug pushers, a story that is so timely in our country today. On the surface, it’s a story about the cause and effect of getting involved in one illegal activity to another. But if you dig deeper, this film also highlights the relationship between two friends, Ken and Kazu, the loyalty they have for each other until the very end.  Kazu already regarded himself as worthless because of a childhood trauma afflicted to him by his lunatic mother which he wasn’t able to recover from. But Ken proved to him that he’s wrong when their lives were put in a life or death situation.

3. THE LITTLE HOUSE and  4. PALE MOON, both tell the story of two women who lived in different periods of time, who secretly pursued happiness disregarding the laws and morals set by society.

These four films are unforgettable but my favorite would have to be, 5. AUGUST IN TOKYO, a story about two people, Natsuki and Natsuo, who do not know each other but living parallel lives, experiencing about the same time one misfortune to another, experiencing one heartache to another, and tragedies that seem to never end. But a brand new hope will touch their hearts when the two finally meet.

“August in Tokyo” made me cry in buckets. In fact almost all the people in the audience cheered for this movie because it made us cry in pain and smile before the story ends.

A trailer of “August in Tokyo.”

Imagine You & Me

aldub1Unang-una, ang ganda ng cinematography (napaka-ganda ng Italy). Ang ganda ng soundtrack. At ang pinaka-importante sa lahat, ang ganda ng istorya. Akala mo typical love story, mababaw na pampakilig. Akala ko I’d just sit back and relax while watching the movie. Hindi pala.

“Imagine You & Me” starring Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza is a story that talks about that universal desire of finding that one true love. Of finding that missing piece in a puzzle called love story. And it also talks about love in letting go. Aaminin ko, dito ako naluha. Yung kwento ni Isay (played by Jasmine Curtis), ex-girlfriend ni Andrew (played by Alden) na may cancer truly hits home. (I have loved ones who died of cancer.) Doon sa kwento, pinili ni Isay na hindi magpatingin sa doktor o magpagamot. Dahil ayaw nyang mamatay sa ospital at ayaw nyang mahirapan ang mahal nya sa buhay. Pinili nyang hayaan ang sakit nya na patayin sya ng dahan-dahan. Gusto ko itong part na ito kasi dati may napanood akong movie about a person with AIDS, isang French movie yata yun, na pinili na hindi magpagamot para mabuhay. Bagkus pinili nya nang harapin ang itinadhana sa kanya, ang mamatay, habang dahan-dahan syang tinutupok ng kanyang sakit.

Going back to “Imagine You & Me,” from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I’d rate it 9. Bakit hindi perfect 10? Kasi hindi ako naniniwala sa philosophy ng movie na may missing piece ‘pag wala kang boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife sa buhay. If this is the kind of values or mindset put into the head of the young people who watched the movie and believed it, they’d be miserable. I think having a significant other is a bonus on top of God’s blessings. It’s a gift, not a goal. And when you receive that gift, that someone to love and love you back, you should seize and cherish that opportunity. Because it comes few and far in between. At ito nga ang pinili na mangyari ni Gara (played by Maine) at ni Andrew na nagdulot ng saya sa aming manonood.

Bayaning 3rd World

Finally, napanood ko din itong pelikula directed by Mike de Leon na pinamagatang “Bayaning 3rd World.” Pinalabas ito noong 1999 and was re-released in 2000. Despite being critically acclaimed and award winning, hindi sya masyadong tinangkilik ng mga tao noong panahon na pinalabas ito.

Maraming salamat kay YouTube user, Ms. Mary Lynn Nazar, for uploading this.