Monday, September 24, 2007

On Lists

You will never find yourself short on the best or greatest movies of all time. I mean if you Google it, you'll most likely be bombarded a million websites. I haven't tried it. Edward Copeland's blog published a list based on a survey that he conducted among critics. I haven't read his entire blog but wonder about the absence of English-language movies. This was probably a reaction to American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 Years, 100 Films list. Personally, I have used as a guide the list published by Time Magazine's resident critics list of 100 Greatest Movies of All Time that was published in 2005.

Lists change over time as more movies come out but it's more because movies get a newer perspective as years pass. In AFI's list, for example, I noticed how The Wizard of Oz is now number ten. Newer films have taken its place. Some movies influence other filmmakers more and more and thus gain a higher preference among critics.

But in the end, it's what you really enjoy and what has stayed with you that matters. Rushmore has affected me in many ways. The humurous, heartbreaking and uplifting story about a competitive outsider in a prep school and finding love and its painful truth in a painful way has affected me deeply and personally. "Brilliant" is what I was screaming at the screen as the end credits rolled. With a wry and witty sense of humor, Rushmore is the film for me. If you had just to pick one movie, just one movie as your favorite movie, one that you could watch over and over again, what would it be?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Movie Musicals

For those who once thought that movie musicals were a fad when Chicago was released and won Oscar best picture, then you're wrong. Well, I was. I didn't think the trend would last as even the trademark Disney animated musical revival that began with The Little Mermaid and followed by to-be-loved-by-many-generations Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Alladin and so on, have ceased. But now, there's at least a movie musical a year. This year 2007, we will have three: Dreamgirls, Hairspray and Sweeney Todd. I think this may be also due too to the desire of today's actors to show, Hey! I can sing too!

With direction by master bizaare visionary Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd is the movie version of the Broadway musical written by Stephen Sondheim. First, Tim is not new to movie musicals. Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride have shown that he likes musicals. Even Beetlejuice had its share with his very funny, dark and ultimately memorable musical numbers to Harry Belafonte classics. Second, with a story about a blood thirsty barber at the turn of the century with songs, this movie is already tailor made to a Tim Burton vision. Adding to the excitement are Johnny Depp (already in countless Tim movies), Helena Bonham Carter (Tim's latest squeeze), and Sacha Baron Coen singing. This is one movie I'm certainly looking forward to.

Despite all the blood and skullduggery, Sweeney Todd has a touching moment with the song Not While I'm Around, a love song we can relate to.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


On Cinemax the other day, I got to watch Chinatown, Roman Polanski's stylish and smart take on film noir. Brilliant is my first reaction. The production values are high style and What I like about this movie are the performances of leads Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. I think this two have no other better work. And the figures these two cut on their silhoutte are really a tribute to the film noir of past. This time, the genre is in full color but noir nevertheless.

Chinatown was part, I think, of Hollywood's Golden Age of Cinema in the early seventies. What a great time that would have been to see all these would be classics such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy, etc. They happen to also be hit movies, so movie going baby boomers sure got to have a great time at the box office. We instead have cable TV!

Monday, September 3, 2007


I saw Hairspray on Broadway was excited at the prospect of a movie version. A nothing but fun, showstopping stage musical, Hairspray the movie has now been added to my deserted island DVD list.

Hairspray's big revelation for me is a singing and DANCING James Marsden. I only knew him as the dork from Superman and Cyclops from X-Men. I youtubed him and got shocked the he sang on Ally McBeal. I loved that show and don't recall if I even missed an episode of the first two seasons. I think James came out (and sang!) in the last season. But the added thrill of Hairspray is a dancing James Marsden. He dances so smoothly and sexy that he can give fellow X-Men Hugh Jackman a run for his money. I didn't see Hugh on Broadway but audiences didn't watch anything else but the singing and dancing Aussie as the show, The Boy from OZ, closed when Hugh left. Is there anyone working on a movie musical of X-Men? Can Halle Berry sing?

The video clip of Marsden on The View doing a sample of the various dance moves he did on Hairspray has been pulled from youtube for copyright reasons, it says. I was able to catch the video before they pulled it out. He did the twist and another sample before he did that Corny Collins move, a combination of the twist and other dances. Oh my! Barbara Walters was laglag panty! She asked how old he was, hoping for a possibility of them hooking up. James readily said he's 32.

Independent Cinema

Cinemalaya 2007 films in competition will be screened at IndieSine at Robinsons Galleria beginning August 29. Had I known of this screening, I wouldn't have been so harrassed to catch the screenings at Cultural Center during the film festival. I don't live close to the CCP and Galleria is so much more convenient to get to with EDSA, MRT and all. Anyway, the first film screened at IndieSine is Tribu, the grand prize winner of the festival.

It was a good movie whose making is a story in itself. Using real gang members and shot in their real hangouts in Tondo, Tribu excites with a documentary feel and its realistic picture of life for youth gangs. With comedy and tragedy and a little heartwarming-ness, the film sort of gave me a jolt (pun not intended). I didn't know that the Meralco meter reader uses binoculars to read meters installed atop the electrical pole. I always wondered how those pole top meters in squatter communities are read, or even if they ever were. The scene was funny and deviated from main plot.

Interesting too is the final gang confrontation. I found the fight scenes realistic in that they were awkward, not choreographed nor even rehearsed. They were like in panic and desperation mode, like survival at the point of losing. Fear was in their movements and their eyes and voices. The camera seemed to movie in panic as well, like a TV news crew in the middle of it all.

Forgot about the bad and depressing day I had before I watched this movie. I love independent cinema! Can't wait for the next film.