Tag: movie

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

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Once upon a time (around 1991), I watched the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast and fell in-love with the blonde prince who only shows himself in maybe the last 5 minutes of the movie. I loved it so much that I watched the Broadway version in New York in 2006. Suffice it to say, I am a fan. The story is a classic made richer by the beautiful songs.

So of course, I was one of the people who was excited to find out they were going to do a live action version of the movie. Finally, my family was able to watch it last Sunday at a block screening in support of the mentorship program of Differently Special Achievers Movement (https://www.facebook.com/SpecialAchievers). Before the movie, we headed to the art exhibit of these kids, entitled Enchanted,  An Art Exhibit of 18 Child-Artists with Disability. That in itself was already a magical experience, having seen the wonderful works of these kids, who thankfully, have the opportunity to have their voices heard through their art.

Moving to the movie itself, I have to say that the little princess in me was still every bit as excited as she was all those years ago. While a lot of things were taken from the original cartoon version, I thought the additional details made the re-telling much more interesting and gave a depth that was lacking in the first movie. (Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the movie yet, you should stop reading at this point.)

First, I liked that they explained that the prince wasn’t born cruel. He was made cruel by his haughty father. I also appreciated that they took the time to explain where Belle’s mom was. I had always just assumed that she died, but now I know why. It made their struggles more believable, seeing that they had to go through these experiences.

Second I thought that the idea that the whole village forgot about the castle and the prince was an inspired addition. After all, wouldn’t it be odd not to notice why your prince, nay, an entire castle, suddenly went missing? For me, it also symbolized that maybe, the villagers became cruel too, thus forgetting that they had this hidden gem.

Third, I really liked the beginning, with the prince all made up (makeup and heels–very French) so you couldn’t really see how he looked like. I was wide-eyed as I awaited his transformation. Squee! He is the cartoon-made flesh. Yup, so handsome!

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The true testament to how good the movie was? My little stoic daughter said she cried a little! She has never cried in any movie she has ever seen. EVER.

Yes, it is a story made for kids and for kids-at-heart. So if you fall into one of these categories, you will enjoy this movie a lot!

 

Heneral Luna: The Review

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Let me preface this review by saying that I have never written a movie review in my life that wasn’t a requirement for school. So pardon if I do a less than stellar job. I will try my best.
For starters, I would like to out myself and confess that I actually like watching Filipino movies. I have dragged my unwilling husband to a number of Filipino classics, such as Kimmy Dora (hilarious) and Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo (because the lead character’s name is Anj). I obviously don’t watch everything out there, but I try to give a fair chance to Filipino movie makers, and have on occasion been surprised and even impressed by their efforts. Sadly, a good Filipino movie worth my time, the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn is few and far between. The last films I had watched were English Only Pls (which was at the very least an effort to explore a different romantic storyline), and This Thing Called Tadhana (which, despite rave reviews, was at best ludicrous in its premise). So you can imagine my hesitation in watching Heneral Luna. I am a sort of history lover (and often catch myself searching Youtube for History Channel’s latest offering) and I was a bit scared of what potential mess they could make out this hero’s life. But as it turns out, this film delivered for me more than entertainment. It sparked in me something that had long been waning–a desire to be a good citizen. Cornballs, right? But yeah, I wish there was some other way to put it.

Okay, so let me attempt to dissect what I liked about the movie in more objective terms. Story/plot: For a film that began by saying that it wasnt very faithful to history, I was surprised to find out that many of the things mentioned there were factual. It is true that Juan Luna (antonio’s famous bro, painter of Spolarium) in a fit of jealousy killed his wife. It’s also documented that the mother of Aguinaldo shouted “Humihinga pa ba?” (or something to that effect) during Luna’s assassination. Every time I enjoy watching a movie that has some basis in fact (eg. Ronin), I make it a point to read up on it to find out which part of the story was true. And I did exactly that with Luna. And yes, the plot was predictable (good vs evil), but then I love Avengers movies, so I guess those are the stories that appeal to me. While Luna is shown as his most heroic self, he also has his foibles. He is a known womanizer, and at many points, he did think of giving it all up. But in the end, it is his humor, and his well of courage that left me inspired.
Actors-In this day and age that dubbing can pass off for acting, I had low expectations to say the least. I really was impressed by most of the actors that were cast. Of course, John Arcilla delivered, but all his supporting actors were laudable as well. I would never have imagined that Epi Quizon could pull off a Mabini (I laughed at the comment of why Mabini never stood up during the entire movie), or that Archie Alemania would be given a chance to show off his acting chops. I really loved Luna’s mother (played by Bing Pimintel) as she recounted the brothers’ youth. She looked so gracious and graceful (as befitting a woman of her stature) While Mon Confiado is known to be a good character actor, maybe they could have chosen one that could make Aguinaldo a more 3-dimensional character, rather than just a president at the mercy of his cronies.
Effects and costume– I normally get distracted when in the middle of a good scene, a bad effect ruins the moment so kudos to the make up artists and special effects guys for not being distracting.

If anything, a raised awareness of a hero that we may have otherwise overlooked is already a good enough result for me. So to the director, Jerrold Tarog, congratulations for a job well done!