Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinoy Classics Review: Kampanerang Kuba (1973)

The loooong lines at Glorietta for “New Moon” discouraged me from even trying. So I ended up channel-surfing at home and found an even better alternative: a cable TV showing of the Vilma Santos starrer “Kampanerang Kuba”.

I’m not a big fan of TV so I have no idea how the serialized version turned out but the 1973 original is a work of awe and some and ness. It’s Pablo S. Gomez in his golden age of terrible shit. Here's an example of a retro film that truly celebrates the shtick, "it's so bad, it's gone past good and back to bad again"

Vilma Santos plays Andang, a female Quasimodo with a heart of gold who lives in the church bell tower. She is also sort of an idiot-savant who talks to the statue of St. Martin de Porres and calls it “Mang Martin”. She also speaks to the church bells and asks them: “Bakit malungkot na kayo? Wala na ang inyong saya at awit.”

Despite of (or perhaps because of) her hideous appearance, she is held dear by the parish priest Padre Damaso but abhorred by the church caretaker, Edeng who maltreats her at every opportunity. Andang is ugly, ugly, ugly and deserves all the pain she can get.

Padre Damaso tries to bring sense to Edeng and talks to her outside the church.

Padre Damaso: “Edeng, ilang ulit ko ba namang sasabihin sa iyo na wag mo nang pagmalupitan si Andang? Napakabait na bata nya. Malambot ang puso.”
Edeng:  “Tama ka, padre. Para siyang tupa sa kabanalan. Pag kaharap kayo. Pero pagtalikod nyo, sutil. Ubod ng tapang, naninibasib!”

Naninibasib. This is just a sample taste of the knee-slapping goodness of Pablo S. Gomez and Nilo Saez’s script.

Enter Celia Rodriguez as Tateng, Edeng’s devilish daughter who is practically ten times meaner than her mother and hangs around the church wearing skimpy red outfits. Celia Rodriguez is at her most versatile here as she is also the town nymphomaniac who preys on married men starting with the character of the late great Dindo Fernando.

One night, Celia and Dindo exchange smooches outside the church. Celia can’t take the heat anymore and invites Dindo inside. In the crudest Pablo S. Gomez joke, Dindo’s character is named Crispin.

Crispin (Dindo): O, bakit dito?
Tateng (Celia): Wag kang mag-alala. Sariling- sarili natin ang simbahan.

Vilma catches them kissing while scratching each other’s back on the church pew. Tateng panics and slaps Andang. She threatens to kill Andang if she squeals.

Now, Tateng may be the town “Malena” but she’s also choosy. She only goes out with hunks like Dindo Fernando and she’s not about to play hide-the-salami with Max Alvarado. Max plays Diego, the town’s classic baddie who has the hots for Tateng but has been rejected many times over. Tateng is not just into him.

One afternoon, a pissed-off Diego bumps into Andang who was on her way to the river.

Diego (Max): Ano ba?! Tatanga-tanga ka kasi.
Andang (Vilma): Bakit ang init ng ulo mo? Siguro tumalbog ka na naman kay Tateng ano?
Diego (Max): Anong tumalbog? Ako ang pinipilit nya. Ako lang ang may ayaw.
Andang (Vilma): Ayaw nya sa iyo—ampangit mo kasi!
Diego (Max): Ha?! Sinong pangit?!
Andang (Vilma): Sino pa. Eh di tayong dalawa.

Ngok. Ngok. Ngok. Ngok.

The Tateng-Andang conflict reached its pinnacle with a girlfight at the pigsty after Tateng said, “Bagay ka diyan. Mukha ka na ring baboy!” Tateng is the more robust chick and quickly overpowers the hunchback. Thankfully, the parish’s hot new priest Father Agaton (Bobot Mortiz) stops the fight and brings Andang back to the church to tend her wounds. Celia Rodriquez seethes.

Andang’s misery hasn’t ended yet. In a sick twist of fate craftily arranged by Tateng, she was accused of stealing jewelry from about 70% of the female population in the barrio. Andang was chased up the bell tower and attempted to end her life by jumping from the top of the church. But no, the women wanted blood in their hands! They coaxed Andang to come down and they beat her to a pulp. Then she was tied to a horse and dragged behind like Eric Bana in “Troy” before leaving her for dead in the bushes.

The very weak Andang crawls back to the church and throws herself at the foot of the Virgin statue. Cue the apparition scene of “Mang Martin. It rained petals and Andang miraculously transforms to a ravishing beauty.

Now at this point in the film, things play out like scenes in a David Lynch movie. While praying inside the church, Andang was suddenly approached by two hysterical spinsters (Perla Bautista and Rossana Marquez) who both swear she is Sandra, their long-lost jewel of a sister. There is no explanation what happened to this real Sandra character whom Andang replaces. We just take it hook, line and sinker that she IIIS Sandra and she now lives the high life – with a huge mansion, some servants and polka-dotted blouses with shoulder pads.

Andang, este, Sandra  gets flocked by suitors but noo, she only has eyes for Father Agaton. Sandra goes to confession and declares her love for the priest.

Sandra (Vilma): Patawarin mo ako, Padre. Ang lalaking iniibig ko ay IKAW.

Padre Agaton rejects her and Sandra leaves the church heartbroken. As if the poor priest’s faith hasn’t been tested enough, Celia Rodriguez appears in a red outfit and runs her hand across his chest.

Tateng (Celia): Ako’y nauuhaw. Painumin mo ako. (she turns around) Babae ako. Ikaw ay lalaki. Malulunasan mo ang aking kagutuman.

Padre Agaton turns down two girls in one night! But the worst is yet to come. Because hell hath no fury than Celia Rodriguez scorned!

Soon enough, rumors spread like wildfire that Sandra and Padre Agaton are having an affair. The town gets livid and storms the church, crying for blood. It appears that the most livid are Dindo Fernando and Max Alvarado. Like a Salem witch, they tie Padre Agaton to a tree and start to burn him at the stake. Max and Dindo cackle like the resident baddies that they are.

By a stroke of faith, Sandra happens at the burning and tries to stop it. Max Alvarado slaps her for even trying. Desperate, she runs to the church and implores the help of "Mang Martin". She climbs the tower and rings the bell. A miracle! The rain begins to pour and stokes the fire!

The very wet Celia Rodriguez suddenly achieves clarity and tearfully announces, "Padre, mula ngayon ay iuukol ko ang nalalabi ko pang buhay sa paglilingkod sa Diyos." Behind her, Celia's mother beams, "Salamat sa Diyos at naliwanagan ang kanyang isipan!"

But don't think Mang Martin will give the miracle for free. Vilma emerges as the ugly hunchback Andeng! Sandra is gone! Death to fantasy! Up yours, "New Moon"!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: 2012

I want to hurl myself towards a taichi sword every time I come across people who try to dissect the storyline, the coincidences and the motivation of characters in a Roland Emmerich movie and scoff and bitch when they finally get down to..nothing. Wake up, Einstein! You don’t go inside a theatre holding a ticket for "2012" and expect to see “Schindler’s List”. Hullooo.

Wag na tayong maglokohan. "2012" is a formula picture trying to cash in on the Mayan doomsday prophecy and a big-budget excuse for Emmerich to blow up the world in eye-popping CGI. But man, oh man, does it work! Leave your common sense at the door and sink in a tub of popcorn and you’ll have what is probably the silliest, most enjoyable time at the movies this year.

2012 assembles a talented cast delivering lines from a script that seemed to be aiming for gold at the Razzies. John Cusack plays Jackson Curtis, a science fiction writer who, after his failed marriage to wife Kate (Amanda Peet) tries to squeeze in some bonding time with his son and daughter (Liam James & Morgan Lily) by taking them on a camping trip to Yellowstone. There he meets a nutty pirate radio DJ (an over the top Woody Harrelson) who tells them about some special arks being built by the government to save the human race from a major ecological cataclysm.

As it turns out, huge solar flares are heating the Earth’s core and California is turning into pot roast. Thanks to the efforts of geologist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Dr. Satnam Tsurutani (Jimi Mistri of “The Guru” Hahaha!) this was brought to the attention of the White House chief of staff (Oliver Platt) and the President (Danny Glover).

What follows is standard Emmerich as he bug-fucks the world like never before. What he hasn’t destroyed yet in “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”, he does it here with gusto. OMG! St. Peter’s Basilica! Christ the Redeemer in Rio! The tip of the Himalayas! And...the Grand Prize winner of the “What-The-Fark-Disaster-Movie-Moment of The Year”—aircraft carrier USS JF Kennedy riding a mile-high tsunami and taking down the White House!

The only bumps in this thrilling ride are the father-son dramatic moments (booo!) and the abhorrent clichés! Don’t get me wrong: I revel in clichés, but this one I can’t take: the US President gives another stupid speech that’s supposed to make everybody cry. And yet another dog survives a disaster flick. One of these days, all these dogs will come together and star in the live action version of “All Dogs Go To Heaven”.

Nevertheless, “2012” should be your choice of blockbuster on a mindless nighout. It’s ridiculous, brash and excessive. To cite Oliver Platt’s golden line in the movie: "What did you think we were going to do? Hold hands and sing `Kumbaya?'"

Rating: 3 stars

Friday, November 20, 2009

Scoop: Krista Ranillo - Mocha Hot Lesbian Kiss!

I’m interrupting my own regular programming with these steamy lesbian smooches between self-confessed bisexual singer Mocha Uson and controversial Pacman mistress starlet Krista Ranillo. The photos appeared in Mocha’s own blog where she recounted how the kiss happened in a secluded spot at the Maxim Magazine office in ABS-CBN last April. Mocha declares “she’s proud that she was Krista’s first (girl kiss).”

That’s the latest update in starletdom. Now back to my regular movie-watching schedule.

(Photos from

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Robert Pattinson Plays Salvador Dali in Little Ashes!

One of the most magical moments in my years of blind devotion to movie-watching was when I first saw a 15- minute 1929 masterpiece called "Un Chien Andalou" by master surrealist Luis Bunuel. It was dream-like, shocking and nothing like anything I've ever seen. For a time I was obsessed with the works of Bunuel and this obsession extended to the works of Bunuel's frequent collaborators, the painter Salvador Dali and writer Federico Garcia Lorca.

Imagine my excitement when I found out that a movie has recently been made about the lives and relationships of the formidable trio. The movie "Little Ashes" follows the 18-year old Dali as he attracts the attention and develops a bond with the university's social elite, Bunuel and Lorca in 1922 Madrid.

If it sounds rather boring, wait till your 13 year-old daughter finds out that it stars "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson as the very Spanish Salvador Dali. (Uhmm. That bit kind of ruins the film for me.) This is Pattinson's first post- Edward Cullen film and is sure to drive public interest. The film also stars Javier Beltran as Garcia Llorca and Matthew McNulty as Bunuel. Paul Morrison directs.

Hmmm.. Why do I have the feeling that this film is going to be truly abhorrent and forgettable in an "Other Boleyn Girl" kind of way? Ikaw? What do you  think? Should this be in the crap bucket? (Hi, Peter Travers)

Pacman Destroys Cotto! In Other News: Manny Pacquiao To Star in Superhero Flick "Wapakman"

Still picking up my jaw from the floor after watching the sensational Manny Pacquiao- Miguel Cotto bout. The two warriors put up a terrific fight in twelve pulsating rounds. The Pacman destroyed Cotto with his amazing speed and swarming style and won by TKO.

Mayweather, you're next, bitch!

While I catch up on oxygen, here's the teaser of Manny Pacquiao's upcoming superhero movie "Wapakman" by "Ouija" director Topel Lee. Will Pacman's drawing power in the ring translate to box office magic?

I don't know about you but I'm watching if only for the perverse pleasure of seeing the Pacman let it out on a giant talangka. Really. There is such a scene.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Paranormal Activity

stars: Katie Featherston & Micah Sloat
director: Oren Peli

Ten years ago, two fiercely original horror movies came out that took scary to a totally different plane: "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project". The first one signaled the end of the public’s fascination with Wes Craven-type gore films while the second triumphed with its minimalist filmmaking and its viral marketing strategy.

“Paranormal Activity” follows the template of “Blair Witch” but misses one element, albeit the most important one: the Scare Factor. Sorry, hype-followers but "Paranormal Activity" is just-not-scary.

Don’t believe the hype. Hype is a bitch. This hideous creepshow failed to elicit even a fake gasp from me. By the final act, I was scratching my balls.

I may not just be the type of audience for a low-budge, one-note nightmare about a young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat)  running around the house with a videocam in the hopes of capturing some nightly demonic presence. Mostly, we watch them bicker and groan like dull couples in an episode of “Wife Swap”. I let out an empowered "What the faaarrkk?!?" as the film liberally steals inspiration from “Blair Witch” and “Ringu”. It gets worse.

In between a mish-mash of dull scenes, there are ludicrous bits that only 15 year olds could take as scary. I mean, come on. Heavy footsteps? Loud thuds? Scary? Seriously??? It grows less convincing with each passing moment.

And it doesn’t help that the shoddy script consisted mainly of the female lead shrieking, “Micah? Micah! Micaaaaah!!” with the acting intensity of Paris Hilton in “House of Wax”.

One of the movie’s blurbs declares: “Don’t See It Alone”. I say, “Don’t See It” period. Save your popcorn. You want a good horror show with lots of handheld shit? Rent. Watch “Rec”. Cheerio, fanboys.

Rating: 1 star

Friday, November 13, 2009

Martin Scorsese To Receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese will receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes this January 2010, the Hollywood Foreign Press announced today.

Scorsese is a two time- Golden Globe Best Director winner for "The Departed" and "Gangs of New York", two of the most un-Scorsese films that I've seen from Scorsese. Just last year, Scorsese presented the same award to buddy Steven Spielberg.

The Globes will be broadcast live on NBC on January 17, Sunday and will be hosted by British comedian "Ricky Gervais".

Scorsese's next film, "Shutter Island" will arrive at theatres on February next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Music: Ne-Yo Back in Manila on January 2010!

This just in: R&B crooner Ne-Yo will be back in Manila to perform in a concert at the SM MoA Concert Grounds on January 9, 2010! "Eurasia", an all-female performing group from Viva Records (think Hot Babes) will be the opening act.

Details about the concert are still sketchy but according to H&S Productions, the “Miss Independent” singer is also slated to perform in Malaysia on January as well. This is great news for my Mom who loves listening to Ne-Yo. Seriously.

The Ne-Yo 2010 Concert is produced by Brown Cross Investments Inc. For tickets inquiry and sales, call 891.9999

Cinema One Originals 2009 in Gateway Mall, Nov. 13-17

Five competing films will be screened at this year’s edition of the Cinema One Originals digital film festival exclusively at Gateway Cinemas in Cubao, from November 13- 17. Ticket price is at P120.

Now celebrating its 15 years in the cable television industry, Cinema One continues its tradition of giving an opportunity to budding filmmakers to make their films with a grant of one million pesos from a competitive search. This year’s five finalists are: “Si Baning Si Mayamay at ang Asong Si Bobo”, “Bala Bala”, “Wanted:Border”, “Paano Ko Sasabihin”, and “Maximus and Minimus”.

What I’m especially excited about in this year’s edition are the retrospective tributes to directors Brillante Mendoza and….Danny Zialcita! Danny Zialcita films are a blaze of tropical sunshine. This will be your chance to watch his rah-rah flicks such as: “Dear Heart”, “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?”, “Nagalit Ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi”, “Palabra de Honor” and “Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?”.

Festival Program

November 13, 2009 Friday
11:50 AM - Yangaw
2:00 PM - Dear Heart
4:30 PM - Kinatay
7:00 PM - Maximus & Minimus
9:20 PM - Wanted Border

November 14, 2009 Saturday
12:30 PM - Dose
2:30 PM - Gaano Kadalas and Minsan
5:00 PM - Si Baning, Si Maymay, at Ang Asong Si Bobo
7:30 PM Paano Ko Sasabihin?
9:15 PM - Bala Bala

November 15, 2009 Sunday
12:30 PM - Confessional
2:30 PM Nagalit Ang Buwan Sa Haba ng Gabi
5:00 PM- Serbis
7:30 PM Lola
9:55 PM - Maximus & Minimus

November 16, 2009 Monday
12:30 PM - Tambolista
2:30 PM - Palabra De Honor
5:00 PM - Tirador
7:15 PM - Wanted: Border
9:10 PM - Paano Ko Sasabihin?

November 17, 2009 Tuesday
12:15 PM - Altar
2:00 PM - Bakit Manipis Ang Ulap?
4:30 PM - Masahista
5:50 PM - Himpapawid
8:00 PM - Bala Bala
9:50 PM - Si Baning, Si Maymay, At Ang Asong Si Bobo

Review: The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow has balls. Super-alpha macho balls. In “The Hurt Locker”, Bigelow has crafted a first- rate war picture about elite soldiers disarming bombs in Iraq enough to make Oliver Stone crap in his pants and whisper, “Intense.” Yes, this is your “Not Another Iraq War Movie”. Here, the tension is palpable, the characters are complex and in the film’s most thrilling moments, you’ll catch your heart up your throat.

Okay, let’s just pretend “K19: The Widowmaker” never happened. In her triumphant comeback, Bigelow fleshes out an absorbing character drama while shrewdly avoiding the usual trappings of a Hollywood war movie. She can now stand beside ex-husband James Cameron and wear a “My Balls is Bigger Than Your Balls” shirt and get away with it.

Jeremy Renner gives a career-making performance as an arrogant EOD officer completely hooked on adrenaline. If the movie keeps its steam till December, he might just snag an Oscar nom. Don’t go to the restroom or you’ll miss the cameos of Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin To Host Oscars!

Funnymen Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will share hosting chores at the 82nd Academy Awards. This was announced by Oscar telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman last November 3.

Uhmm. That�s a welcome surprise although I was kind of rooting for Neil Patrick Harris after his superb showmanship at this year�s Emmys.

With Baldwin in, I bet my Tracy Jordan t-shirt that the show would be littered with a few Tina Fey jokes.

Incidentally, both Baldwin and Martin appear with Meryl Streep in the Christmas release �It�s Complicated�.

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