Cinemanyak Previews The 2009 Academy Awards

Cinemanyak Previews The 2009 Academy Awards

Sunday, September 30, 2007

BANGKOK LOVE STORY: Director and Screenwriter Wasted a Good Story

Cinemanyak Rating: 5.0/10
IMDB Rating: Not Available
Tomatometer: Not Available
Rotten Tomatoes Critics' Rating: Not Available
What's your rating? Post a comment below.

BANGKOK LOVE STORY is a good film, that is if you isolate cinematography and the homoerotic story line from the distracting side stories, the gloominess of the plot and the unbearable (bad) acting. And the rain, oh my gosh, it keeps on falling every time the story reaches its peak. Do all sad stories happen underneath the rain?

Let me start with the good things:

One, cinematography is stunningly beautiful! The whole of Bangkok turned dark as Gotham City. It's like watching a gangster film from New York, which perfectly fits to the plot. The director used unconventional angles and shot some speed in high speed, making the picture looks slow on screen. Imagine Wong Kar Wai and Spike Lee combined.

Two, the homoerotic plot is fantastic. I could say it is better than Brokeback Mountain. The tension is there. It is unpredictable. And it is "acceptable" (usually, a homoerotic film crosses the boundary of porn. Bangkok Love Story was able to manage it well).

The story is about a hitman hired to kill a cop. When they met, the hitman kept him in a hidden roofdeck house. As the movie goes along, they suddenly felt that they were falling for each other. They denied that were gay, primarily because of their profession, but in then end they were not able to fight it and just got together. Looks simple but it is not.

The writer overloaded the story with so much twists and side characters that it destroyed the perfect homoerotic plot I've seen. Add the following to the story above: AIDS, Tubercolosis, Drus Lords, an overacting wife (of the cop; yes he's married!), and serendipitous events which makes the film more depressing. To sad! The writer just missed a gem here.

Bangkok Love Story is still screening in all cineplexes around Bangkok.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

SHINDO: Music & Real Friendship Captured in a Good Film

Cinemanyak Rating: 7.0/10
IMDB Rating: Not Available
Rotten Tomatoes Critics' Rating: Not Available
Tomatometer: Not Available
What is your rating? Post a comment below.

I was able to watch SHINDO at the Siam Cineplex Art House in Bangkok. Not knowing what to expect, I did enter the large theatre together with 6 other Chulalungkorn University students (the market of the Art House as the campus is just behind Siam).

Shindo is a story about 2 piano prodigies: a young girl (Uta) at her early teens, and an adult guy (Oto) at his early 20's. Uta already earned a name in playing the piano since she was a child. Her mother is very persistent in asking her to continue playing, but she wants to stop to live a normal life outside the stage spotlight. Oto is exactly the opposite, not having the same talent as the young girl, he puts all of his energy in practicing pieces just to get into a music school.

Their friendship appeared to be beneficial for both of them. Uta inspired Oto to reach for his dream as a musician. Oto inspired Uta to look for her purpose in life (eventually, she found out that playing music is her sad).

The thing I love with this film is its simplicity: the story, the directing, the music, the cinematography. No drama, very pure. This makes Shindo very believable. You may not be able to relate to piano playing, but its rawness of its emotions will certainly move you.

The director may have the perfect love story to exploit, but he rather made Uta and Oto friends from beginning until the end. This is the best platonic boy-girl relationship I've seen in screen so far.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cinemanyak Visits Art Houses in South East Asia

A lot are asking where I view the films I feature in the site. I do 3 things: catch the latest film festival, buy dvds and watch at home, and go to the nearest art house in town.

During my recent trip around South East Asia, I visited some of the best are houses in the region. I hope we could have more of these in Manila.


Restaurant, bar, studio and a film theatre in one. This high end art house offers themed dinner which suits aptly to the film to be screened (I was able to attend a wine and cheese party prior their "Sideways" screening).

HOUSE in Bangkok
A typical cineplex with modern interiors, and art films on the screen. A bit hard to find though; no connection to the BTS or MRT.

Old cinemas refurbished into its old grandeur, fit to the art films they flash to their screen. It's like watching a movie in old Escolta and Avenida, but in digital sound.

The official art house of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This small viewing room screens award winning film (both local and international) for free!

Other Art Houses:
- Instituto Cervantes, Manila (screens free Spanish films every Saturday, 6PM)
- Indiesine, Robinon's Galleria Manila (Filipino Indie all year long. Mostly not subtitled)
- Cinekatipunan, Magnet Cafe Katipunan Manila (Filipino Indie, normally school works. Screenings start at 5PM)

Here are some useful links:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

DONSOL: Philippines' entry to next year's Oscars

Aldolfo Alix's entry to the 2006 Cinemalaya Indie Film Festival was chosen to represent the Philippines in the next Oscar Awards. DONSOL got the awards for best cinematograpy and best actress (Angel Aquino) in the CCP-housed festival.

This is another success of Philipine Indie.

Last year, another indie film was chosen to represent the Philippines in the Oscars (Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros).

Pelikula: 6th Spanish Film Festival @ Greenbelt

The 2007 SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL is near! Greenbelt 3 Cinemas in Manila will house this year's "cinema fiesta".

Festival schedule below. Click the film title for synopsis, reviews and film details.

2 Tue

14 Sun
2:00 Derecho de familia
No sos vos, soy yo
7:00 Audience Choice

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cinemalaya @ Indiesine

For those who missed the screenings at the CCP, Cinemalaya films are currently running at Indiesine (Robinson's Galleria).

In the line up are: TRIBU (Best Picture, Best Actor), ENDO (Jury Prize, Best Actress), GULONG, LIGAW LIHAM, SINUNGALING NA BUWAN (disqualified during the festival) and TUKSO (Best Screenplay)

Lalake Sa Parola: Tell me what went wrong?

Cinemanyak Rating: 1.0/10
IMDB Rating: Not Available
Rotten Tomatoes Critics' Rating: Not Available

This is a disappointing film. Very disappointing.

Unconventional story telling which confused us in the start, bad acting until the end, pixelized cinematography, an ending with unclear character-conflict resolution...and a lot of homoerotic scenes badly done.

Don't watch this film. Period.

But in case you want to, it is still running in Indiesine, Robinson's Galleria

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Silent Film Festival in Manila

The 1st International Silent Film Festival is currently running at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas. This is a unique film series which combines classic black and white silent films with local live music.

September 4 – The Adventures of Prince Achmed/Die Abenteur des Prinzen Achmed (Germany), music by Drip

September 10 – The Sixth Sense/El Sexto Sentido (Spain), music by Wahijuara

September 13 – A Monster Serpent/Orochi (Japan), music by Makiling Ensemble

All screenings start at 8PM.

The festival is sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, Instituto Cervantes and the Japan Foundation, in cooperation with Ayala Malls Cinemas, Greenbelt and YoCard.

Lav Diaz's "Death in the Land of the Encantos" won in Venice

Lav Diaz's 9-hour movie DEATH IN THE LAND OF THE ENCANTOS won the Golden Lion Honarable Mention Award in the recently concluded Venice International Film Festival.

"Long live Philippine Cinema!" Diaz said in this acceptance speech. "In spite of all the madness in this world, it's still a nice place to live in. We still have a cinema. We have the Venice Film Festival."

"Encantos" tells the story of a poet who returned to his hometown in Bicol after the destruction and aftermath of supertyphoon Reming.

Ang Lee's x-rated, sexually explicit film LUST, CAUTION won the top prize, just 2 years after he got the same award for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

BRAD PIT won best actor.

Monday, September 10, 2007

October is Cinemanyak Month: Spanish Film Festival and Cine Europa Back-to-Back

Cineastes will go crazy this October! Two of the longest running international film festivals in Manila will happen back-to-back this October.

Pelikula: Instituto's 6th Spanish Film Festival

Pelikula will open on the 1st of Oct with the invitational screening of UNIVERSO CHOMON. Pelikula is now the biggest showing of Spanish cinema in South East Asia.

Greenbelt 3 will house the festival until Oct 14.

Cine Europa 2007

The annual film festival of the European Union, Cine Europa shows the best cinema of the region. The festival will show Oscars 2007 Best Foreign Film THE LIVES OF OTHERS from Gernamy.

The Shangrila Plaza will house the festival from October 18 to 28.
Cebu will have their run from from October 5 to 7.
Davao will have theirs from October 12 to 14.