Cinemanyak Previews The 2009 Academy Awards

Cinemanyak Previews The 2009 Academy Awards

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Paris Je T'aime: 18 Films in 2 Hours

Cinemanyak Rating: 8.0/10
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: 7.0/10
Critics' Tomatometer: 84% (Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes)
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

Awards and Accomplishments:
Official Selection, 2006 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Toronto Film Festival
In Exhibition, 2007 Cinemanila

18 stories. 18 acclaimed directors.
1 film.
1 theme... love in Paris.

I watched the film after seeing some directors involved in this ambitious project: Gus Van Sant and Christopher Doyle to mention a few. Seldom do you see acclaimed directors and Cannes winners together.

Given 5 minutes each. The directors gave their own interpretation of "love in Paris". Some were experimental, some were conventional. There were films about vampire couples, homosexuals, a Moslem and a Christian, 2 clowns, a divorced couple, a blind man and an actress, Asians trying to be French, and more. Very diverse. Truly interesting.

I was lukewarm to the idea at first. They may be acclaimed directors and known film makers, but how can they manage a "chopseuy" of stories? I was thinking then that things will be left hanging and unresolved at the end. But to my surprise, it didn't feel that way.

Yes, some things were left hanging...but the film gave a different feeling in the end: it made us miss all the characters terribly! Thanks to the perfect ending where they showed everyone in a montage and in 18 split frames, accompanied by a lovely song entitled "We're All In The Dance".

It's a good film. I would recommend it. (By the way, I watched it twice. In Cinemanila and during my flight from Manila to Singapore).

Below is the trailer. I'm also posting the ending of the film which made most of the people in the theater cry (it's a spoiler, so don't play the second video if you are planning to watch Paris Je T'aime) .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CINEMANYAK: Now in Rotten Tomatoes

CINEMANYAK is now a part of the Rotten Tomatoes vine of critics. Cinemanyak reviews will now be linked to one of the biggest film-info sites in the web.

Send in your views and reviews, and join Cinemanyak in throwing those "fresh" or "rotten" tomatoes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

CINEMANYAK BREAKING NEWS: Pisay, Tirador and Death in the Land of the Encantos entered Toronto Int'l Film Festival

3 Filipino films got in Toronto Film Festival:
- Pisay the Movie (Auraeus Solito, 2007 Cinemalaya Best Director)
- Tirador (Brillante Mendoza)
- Death in the Land of the Encantos (Lav Diaz's 8 hour film).

Toronto is considered as one of the top film festivals in the world, next to Cannes and Berlin.

CINEMANYAK BREAKING NEWS: Kubrador won the Critic's Prize in this year's Brisbane Int'l Film Festival

Good news for the Philippines. 2006 Cinemanila Best Picture KUBRADOR won the Critic's Prize in the recently concluded Brisbane International Film Festival. This is the 10th best film recognition for the Jeffrey Jeturian masterpiece.

Kubrador is a film about a "jueteng" (illegal number game) collector. As she goes around the tight streets of Manila, she meets the bettors who desperately put all their hopes into jueteng, wishing that it will bring them out of poverty. Every bettor has a story...and the collector, played by Gina Pareno, is a witness to all of these. After earning money through their hopelessness, she realizes in the end that she herself was hopeless.

A 6.9/10 in IMDB. Cinemanyak thinks it should be 7.5/10.

Volver: Pedro Almodovar's Newest Masterpiece

Cinemanyak Rating: 8.0/10
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: 7.7/10
Critic's Tomatometer: 91% (Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes)
What's your Rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
Winner - Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival
Winner - Best Actress, Penelope Cruz, Cannes Film Festival
In Competition - Cannes Film Festival
Nominated - Best Actress, Penelope Cruz, Oscars
Winner - Best Director, European Film Awards
Winner - Best Actress, Penelope Cruz, European Film Awards
Nominated - Best Picture, European Film Awards
Nominated - Best Foreign Film, Golden Globes
Nominated - Best Actress, Golden Globes
Winner - Best Film, Goya Awards
Winner - Best Director, Goya Awards
Winner - Best Actress, Goya Awards

Pedro did it again! A wonderfully crafted opus which brings you to the emotional highs and lows of his character. I was however disappointed after watching VOLVER. Knowing it won best screenplay in Cannes (it also won 38 other awards and got 47 nominations from different award giving bodies around the world), I was expecting to see something bigger and better than Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her).

I did miss in Volver the twists, turns and suspense Pedro is known for. The plot is unconventional, yet a bit predictable. Cinematography is fantastic, especially in the opening scene at the cemetery. One thing amazing though is how Pedro exposed each character in separate segments of the film...then tied them up perfectly towards the end.

Commendable acting from Penelope Cruz! She really stunned me.

Don't get me wrong, it is a good's just over rated for me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ploy: An Artistic Psychological Drama Put Into Film

Cinemanyak Rating: 8.0/10
IMDB rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: Not Available
Critic's Tomatometer: Not Available
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
Official Selection - Cannes Film Festival, Director's Fortnight
In Competition - Cinemanila Film Festival (ASEAN sidebar)

I'm starting to like Thai films. I was able to watch 3 at Cinemanila.

When I was in Bangkok last July, I was so happy to see that PLOY is currently running in the cineplexes. I've seen good reviews from those who were invited in Cannes, thus I know very well that this film is a must see.

The first few frames of the film reminded me though of my favorite director, Wong Kar Wai. The shot of passports being stamped reminded me Wong's Happy Together opening scene. Whilst Ploy's slow, lingering shots reminded me of Wong's 2046 and In The Mood For Love.

But in spite of this resemblance, Ploy is still unique...thanks to its good screenplay.

The film is a psychological drama about suspicion and jealousy. What started as a small misunderstanding between husband and wife, was later turned into a story of murder, rape and violence. And this is all because of a stranger named Ploy.

The tension of the story is good enough to sustain the audience interest for 2 hours. Story telling was perfect, and direction was superb. Cinematography was perfect.

Ploy is truly a Cannes material. You can still catch this film at Cinemanila, which will end on Aug 28.

Irina Palm: The Best Hands in Town!

Cinemanyak Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
Winner - Reader Jury, Berlin Film Festival
In Competition - Berlin Film Festival
In Competition - Cinemanila Film Festival

IRINA PALM...boring title at first. But after watching the movie, I can't help it but smile everytime I hear "Irina Palm".

Irina Palm is a movie about a widowed grandmother, Maggie, who wants to save her grandson from cancer by sending him to Australia for treatment. The problem is they don't have much to pay for his airfare and hospital bills. Without any work experience, she walks around London to look for a job. After multiple rejections, she ended up in a Soho sex club. She then agreed to masturbate men through a hole for 800 pounds a week.

Now you know why "Irina Palm"...becasue she has the best palm in town!

A drama-comedy neatly directed by Sam Garbarski. This film competed in this year's Berlin Film Festival. Irina Palm's unconventional storyline will leave you awake for 2 hours, though there are some lags in the story telling that will make you wish you could fast track time.

Cinemanyak recommends this film for its unique plot and amusing humor. Aside from that, it is a so-so art film.

Persepolis: An Animated Feature Not For Kids

Cinemanyak Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: 7.4/10
Critic's Tomatometer: 100% (Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes)
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
In Competition - Cannes Film Festival
Winner - Cannes Jury Prize
Winner - Cinemanila Jury Prize

Quoting a post in IMDB, PERSEPOLIS is a film about humanity where humanity is illegal.

This film opened a window to the difficult, often unreasonable, Iranian society. But the best thing about Persepolis is that they have exposed the story a funny, black and white, full length animation.

I think this is the most acclaimed animation feature since Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Persepolis won the Jury Prize in this year's Cinemanila, and was selected in this year's Berlin Film Festival.

The material is very powerful that it covers topics like: the fall of the Shah, Iraq's invasion of Iran and the ultra-conservatism of some of our Islam brothers. But these were perfectly balanced with humor by introducing: Jichael Mackson, Bruce Lee, the lead's gay boyfriend and more. Watch out for the "Eye of the Tiger" part in the's freakingly hilarious!

Through the eyes of an idealistic, westernized Iranian girl Marjan, Persepolis showed how people in Iran learned to live a life as dictated by their conservative society...yet still dream of becoming more free.

Persepolis is a must see!

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days: Cannes Winner in Cinemanila

Cinemanyak Rating: 10.0/10
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: 7.8/10
Critic's Tomatometer: 100% (Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes)
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
Winner - Cannes Film Festival (Palm D'or)
Winner - Cinema Prize of the French National Education System (Cannes Film Festival)
Winner - FIPRESCI Prize (Cannes Film Festival)
In Competition - Cinemanila Film Festival

"A slice of life" -- this is how I describe 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS. The film is powered by raw and real emotions, which complements its linear and flat plot. For 2 hours, the film will never allow you to leave your seat, nor close your eyes. You just want things to unfold continuously in front of you.

I was struck with the crudity of its cinematography, setting and edit: handheld shots, underexposed lighting, gloomy Romanian town, wet weather. But I then realized that this is what the film wants to paint: the reality of abortion.

This film is not about a girl who wants to abort a baby, it is about hopelessness and lossing hope.

A true cinematic wonder! It derserves the Palme D'or. A must see.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cinemalaya Winners: The Most Prestigious Philippine Indie Film Festival

CINEMALAYA just finished it's successful 3rd run at the epicenter of Philippine culture and arts...the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

For those who are unfamiliar with Cinemalaya, it is the biggest and the most prestigious Indie Film Festival in the Philippines.

Indie means new breeds, new comers and first timers. In fact, Cinemalaya only accepts films from those who have not directed more than 3 films in their lives. This makes the festival very most entries are experimental and extremely unique than those which are shown commercially. Below are some entries:
  • Kadin - 2 children walk miles and miles around Batanes to find their missing goat
  • Pisay - a film about this famous HS of highly intelligent kids
  • Gulong - a tale of 3 children looking for a bike to use for their summer vacation
  • Tukso - Murder told in 4 different views
  • Tribu - a story of the gangs of Tondo

Here are some of the winners in this year's Cinemalaya (full length feature):

  • Best Film - Tribu
  • Best Director - Auraeus Solito of Pisay (same director of Pagdadalaga)
  • Best Actors - the cast of Tribu (by the way they are real gang members)
  • Best Actress - the actress in Endo
  • Best Cinematography - Kadin (hands down!)
  • Best Editing - Endo
  • Best Production Design - Pisay

After watching Cinemalaya, you will really feel confident that Philippine Cinema is alive (again)!

Death Proof Gala in Cinemanila

Cinemanyak Rating: 8.0/10
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critic's Rating: Not available
Critic's Tomatometer: Not available
What's you rating? Post a comment below.

Awards & Achievements:
In Competition - Cannes Film Festival

was one of the highlights of this year's Cinemanila, the most celebrated international film festival in the Philippines as of the moment. No other than Quentin Tarantino attended the gala premiere of his film in Manila.

I was stunned with Death Proof. Quentin veered away from his "traditional" gun-induced violence, but maintained the amount of blood and gore on the screen...this time through car crashes. I can also say the the final car chase scene is one of the most cinematic I have seen. Quentin said before the screening that this was shot without CG, and is considered as one of the top three car cashes ever in film.

Besides that, Quentin was able to show in Death Proof his mastery of dialogues. The best screenplay he has done since Pulp Fiction. All elements of the film were well thought of: the music, cast, production design, lighting and even the editing...with its missing frames, scratches and dirt. Everything ties together to create the illusion that you are wacthing a 60's/70's B-movie inside a grindhouse.

And just like a true grindhouse B-movie, it's plot is pretty staightforward. But Quentin added more into it though his witty dialogies and visuals.

This is truly the second best Tarantino film (Pulp is still way on top).