crossesandguns: cain with a syringe full of poison (Default)
Aw, I said I’d post the El Presidente review on Monday and it’s Thursday around here already. It’s been a really busy week at work, and I get so sick of sitting and staring at a computer all day long that when I get home, I try to do something else, like read a book. Granted it’s probably not good for the eyes either, but just the act of touching paper with printed words, and feeling the weight numb your arm, work wonders for me these days. That’s how boring I’ve become, I guess.

Anyway, here’s the review. Let’s go over the good points first.

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I liked this poster better.

1. History. It was a historical film, and I’m a sucker for anything with a tinge of history. What’s more, it’s Philippine history jfc

2. Fantastic music score! My brother and I felt it was a bit LOTR, but it worked. Kudos to the composer and the orchestra! We stayed for the credits and's rap ending song was funny?

3. Cinematography was lovely. My bro, the film major, was practically squealing at every other take ahaha.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us4. Joonee Gamboa as Felipe Buencamino. While I have no inkling as to who Felipe Buencamino is, just the fact that Joonee Gamboa graced this movie was enough for me, because I’m shallow like that. I gushed about him to a friend who had the gall to say that she didn’t know who Joonee Gamboa is. Cue ‘omg let me educate you’ speech and a dozen Youtube links sent her way. If you are a Filipino who grew up on the islands you have no business not knowing who he is ok, he is like our very own John Hurt, his voice melts bulletproof vests, I mean, if your documentary has Joonee Gamboa as narrator your documentary is best. Here, have a sample of him narrating National Geographic’s Inside Malacanang.

5. The little historical tidbits were fascinating, Antonio Luna was there, Jose Rizal was referenced once (not his execution), the Battle of Quingua was mentioned (oh oh i know an embarassing amount of stuff here for no reason at all), US Consul Spencer Pratt, Julian Felipe etc. I was happy with the who's who. That being said, see #4 at the negative section.

6. Thing I loved about the fight scenes was the research that went into them. Baron Geisler's character was a caricature, and I'm not sure if he's actually real, but his duelo with Aguinaldo stands out for me. You can see the difference in fight styles between the Spaniard and the Filipino - Baron was in typical fencing pose, one-handed with the other at his waist; Agui was employing espada y daga, a sword in one hand while the other parries/hold a dagger. I was fascinated. Loved the kali disarming fight scenes too, wow.

7. Apolinario Mabini was like the Machiavelli to Miong’s Medici, I guess.

Here come the not-so-good points:

1. Skewed portrayal. I get that it's about Aguinaldo and it's gonna take Agui's side, but dude, if you're looking for the truth, better read up on other sources because this movie is severely lacking. One thing that pissed me off though – Bonifacio was not a traitor, repeat, BONIFACIO WAS NOT A TRAITOR. Here is an excellent take-down by Jessica Zafra on this. I mean, wow, there is a reason why we have a Bonifacio Day and we don't have an Aguinaldo Day (except maybe in Cavite). The Supremo, the founder and leader of this freaking revolution, was not a traitor. Also, excuse you Mr. Daniel Tirona, Bonifacio may not have your credentials, but he was not uneducated. He read Voltaire in the original fucking French.

2. Antonio Luna (played by Christopher de Leon) was portrayed as a balimbing general who won no victories and killed people who can't pay revolutionary tax. He's your typical telenovela villain. While I don't discount these as untrue, what they failed to mention was that Luna was actually the army's real general, that he studied military tactics and guerilla warfare while in exile, that he had plans for a guerilla camp up in the highlands, as a last bastion against the Americans, because hey, the highlands have never been conquered, the Spanish tried and failed. Also, he was a published pharmacist who studied in Spain and won an award for a paper on malaria. He’s the other reason why I think the Luna men had both madness and genius in their blood (See Juan Luna, Filipino master painter, accused of killing of his wife and mother-in-law). (I mostly know these through my PI 100 (Rizal) class back in uni. Loved that class.)

Cut for possible spoilers: prophesies, endings and decisions )

In conclusion, it was a fun movie, but just remember to take everything with a grain of salt, lest we oversimplify events and people and their motives. I’m no expert on the Philippine revolution; all I am is a leisurely reader with an interest in it, and I’m happy historical movies are finding a place in our theaters again.

In other news, almost everybody in the office has come down with a cold, and I hope my turn doesn't come. You'd think with my history I'd have developed a tolerance! Augh I don't want to be sick again!

crossesandguns: cain with a syringe full of poison (Default)
Dropping in to say hi to all my new friends from [personal profile] meicdon13 's friending meme! Hey, guys, lovely to meet you!
I saw El Presidente last night, (here's my post with the trailer) and it was pretty good. The score was fantastic, the cinematography brilliant. Plus, all the historical references were like bullets to my fragile soul. I'll post a most likely long-ass entry when I get back on Monday!
Anyway, I've been watching Adventure Time since last Christmas and I'm totally digging it, like, for real. My favorite episode so far is Princess Cookie - I swear, I never cried nor felt anything akin to crying on any episode except this. Sigh.

(Hey look, the mood face looks like BMO aww)
crossesandguns: cain with a syringe full of poison (Default)
Interrupting regular programming to bring you a video:



Official entry to the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival

I mean, I'm not a fan of Estregan, but you have to admit, his earlier Asiong Salonga movie was brilliant in its own way. He and his company seem to have a knack for historical films with amazing cinematography (not sure about authenticity, though), and I'm actually quite grateful that films like these are among the MMFF roster, which is, sadly, more like a competition of franchises than an actual festival.

There is a lack of historical films on the Philippines in the market, and I'm happy we're taking strides to conquer that. Last Friday, Bonifacio Day, I was listening to a radio station and the DJ was asking people if they knew who Andrés Bonifacio is, and why he's a hero. It was shocking to find out that they don't know. They don't know who Boni is, aside from a holiday and a 10 peso coin he shares with Apolinario Mabini, and it breaks my heart. Perhaps between this and Alfred Vargas as Andrés in another film, Supremo, we'd get to know him as we should.

One of my clearest memories as an elementary school kid was watching Tirad Pass, starring Romnick Sarmenta as the Boy General. And if sometimes I can't hide my admiration for that pompous, flawed teenager, it must be because of that (and the myth the American army wove around him). There's that legendary Marilou Diaz-Abaya biopic on Jose Rizal too, which seem to be the standard for Spanish-era films today. I remember that Gardo Versoza played the Rizal-fanboy Andrés there opposite Cesar Montano's Jose Rizal and I shipped it.

And now Cesar plays Andrés in this new movie. It's weird because he's already Jose Rizal, and aren't there any other actors who can play the Supremo? Granted, it is a better casting than Mark Anthony Fernandez in the GMA National Anthem clip, because he clearly is mestizo. Cesar is a great actor, but times like this, with the election coming in less than six months... come on, we all know where this is heading.

But if we're talking favorite historical films, it's a toss-up between Ganito Kami Noon... Paano Kayo Ngayon? by Eddie Romero aaaand Amigo by John Sayles (mostly because of Joel Torre though). Ganito Kami is a fascinating exploration of what it means to be a Filipino during the last days of the Spanish Era and the transitional period to the American Occupation. It's a bit old but you get to see a (really) young Christopher de Leon; I recommend it to everyone!

What else, ok, on the trailer itself. It looks awesome, a bit The Patriot, but with a Filipino 80's gangsta action movie flair. Mark Meily is the director, and holla, should we be surprised, because he directed the MMFF-winning Spanish-era film Baler as well. (Segue, I would have liked Baler better if I knew why the hell Anne Curtis was playing the native Filipina and Jericho Rosales the half-blood mestizo... it doesn't make sense!) I have high hopes for this, I would actually pay to see it. Anyway, that's it, and I suppose I should mention that I think Felix Roco is playing Gregorio del Pilar, based on that trailer, and I'm curious as to how they'll portray the relationship between him and his General.

I'm having a history boner, excuse meee


I remember my brother and I walking around Quezon Memorial Circle and thinking how cool would it be if there was a Manuel L. Quezon Aswang Hunter film and inventing lore all right and I mean if you see Quezon Memorial at night with those creepy angels and weird neon lights, it's pretty scary and you get to believe anything can be true.

But I'm rambling.


May 2014

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