Friday, December 15, 2006

A good year

Russell Crowe. Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard

A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.

The challenge of the film is how to bring to life the slow-moving lifestyle in France. This was somehow exaggerated in the film, resulting in "acting" instead of "living" out the character's part. Other than this, the film has an excellent script, a true masterpiece in the non-fiction drama genre.

The cinematography is excellent; it's as if the scenery is within the audience's reach. The contrast between the country's serenity and the city's urban setting cannot be missed.

Just what makes a good wine? Watch the movie and you'll discover how wine and a good heart go together. This film fits the conventional 3-act play. And the lessons: there' always something much more important than wealth and fame, and that is, the gift of people, love, and relationships.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, November 03, 2006


Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

Log: a story of a couple whose wife was shot by a stray bullet while taking a vacation to Morroco.

Analysis: Excellent script, development of story line, concept and production. The juxtaposition of scenes and events are commendable, this film is meant to bring a new development to the art of filmmaking to resemble a documentary. Highly recommended on the technical level.

Regarding the ethical sphere, "Babel" does say a lot about the reality of communications. Apart from the usual difference in language, communication by far degenerated to include misunderstanding among human beings, cultures, and nations.

What is significant though is that despite the difference there is a endless array of hope that people do communicate. Circumstances and events almost always bring about a dialogue even beyond the level of speech and joining what was separated by conflicts and misunderstanding. In the end, the human heart which genuinely desires to beat as one with others is eventually the real gauge of genuine communications.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Friday, September 22, 2006

Learning Media from Broadway

Media as we know it does not only entertain; it informs, forms, and transforms.

It is through the analyses of various instruments of mass media that we hope we could come up with an recommendation on how to improve the state of Philippine media and our views as well. Otherwise, we would just be locked in an endless cycle of the chicken and the egg syndrome of analyzing why our media are in a bad state: is it because of direct intention of the producers just to gain profit or is it because of the maturity of the viewers?

Learning from Broadway musicals

Have you gone to New York lately? Your travel is not complete until you watch a Broadway musical.

Unlike in the Philippines where people couldn't afford to spend hard-earned money on musicals, in this part of the world, tourists and residents don't mind shedding off a hudred dollars or more to watch a spectacle of costumes, lights, and sounds.

We can learn from watching broadway musicals. Being creative forms of mass media, we can learn its tricks and trade, know what makes them compelling, and convert them into low cost productions for our countrymen to enjoy.

What counts though is not the expense in producing such musicals, but the ability to get messages across, especially if we are convinced that our materials have what they take to be delivered to the public. For sure, the Filipinos deserve such entertainment as well.

Beauty and the beast

The counterpart of the Disney animation of the same title, this musical's come on are its costumes, excellent music, and special effects. This musical uses the usual conventions of a musical performed by white American artists.


Another Disney production, the highlights of this musical are the awesome compositions of Phil Collins and the acrobatic performances of its characters. The backdrop is consistent: a forested area, so it has to be compensated with superb acting and singing.

The story is consistent with the movie except for its abrupt ending.

Mama mia

This highly acclaimed musical puts together the past songs of ABBA with a compelling storyline to come up with a hilarious and very entertaining masterpiece.

The problem is its abrupt ending that trivializes the sacredness of marriage. But as the song goes, "You can dance, you can fly..." you cannot help but get up from your seat and dance!

The wedding singer

This is not too publicized, but the Wedding singer is famous for its beautiful music and its entertaining script. This is a typical boy-falls-in-love-with-a girl story with twists and turns.

The perfect crime

A play in contrast with a musical, uses only one set and a less spacious theater, plus only 4 characters, but the story is so compelling that you don't even know that 2 hours have passed and the play is over.

This is highly recommended for low-budget productions.


Another musical in the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Wicked continues the fairy tale of the the Wizard of Oz with the Wicked Witch of the East taking the lead. This is a story of friendship and an invitation not to judge a person by outward appearances only.

Avenue Q

This is musical about transients residing in the city of New York, each having a unique experiences in life. The characters use puppets like in Sesame Street but with adult themes. This creativity in the use of puppetry in a musical is truly amazing.

There are many more to be watched in Broadway avenue, Manhattan. But the more important thing to consider is how to bring a noble message across and enflesh it through the language of media. It need not be expensive; you just need a noble heart and a creative mind and off you go.

Friday, August 11, 2006

World Trade Center

Directed by Oliver Stone
Produced by Paramount Pictures

August 11, 2006 - The film may rekindle traumatic moments for some, but I believe that the WORLD TRADE CENTER has a powerful message that can heal painful memories and and bring about a deeper, livelier spirituality.

It is a story of 2 Port Authority policemen who try to save people but they fall prey when the Twin Towers collapsed and they have to be rescued.

The recreation of the burning WTC was superbly done, the animation blending seamlessly with the actual place. Michael Pena and Nicholas Cage performed realistically the roles of Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin. The screenplay uses everyday language. The feeling was right for every scene and the whole film is not about how it was made but rather about the what happened and how everyone felt as they recounted everything that transpired during that fateful day. Recreating the tragic event is the main challenge for this film and much more; it is actual experience of going through the ordeal until the two policemen would be saved.

WORLD TRADE CENTER is an actual event that caused sorrow for the Americans and the entire world. But we only knew it from the news, from the footage of the collapse of the building and the thousands of people who have died in the tragedy. But we haven't known what it means to actually go through the entire experience trying to save people and becoming a victim oneself. This film enables us to go through the actual experience of one trapped in the pile, of someone who hopes against hope that his/her loved one is still alive, and the process of going through the whole ordeal until one is saved by others.

Moreover, I feel that a spirituality just came out of the film. It is not just a story a tragedy. Nor is it a story hating the offenders and asking for justice. It becomes a story of hope that sooner or later, a person in danger of death would have to be saved. It is a story of heroism, a triumph of the goodness of men and women who risked their lives to save others. Most significantly, the highlight of the film is openness attributed to the Almighty, the Lord who is sustaining them and saving people from dying. This is not a film about whether he believes in God or not. WORLD TRADE CENTER showed us an obvious, decisive reality - in the midst of a tragedy, God is still there to be with His people.

I therefore feel that the WORLD TRADE CENTER transformed from an event to a breathing life form. From two tall buildings, it tansformed into real people with concrete experiences to tell. Whether dead or alive, each has a particular, unique place in this with a message of hope to give to others simply becuase of nothing else except faith.

Rating: 5/5

Friday, August 04, 2006


Produced by: Pixar / Walt Disney

It is a story about a popular race car that is held up in an obsolete Route 66 before he could make it to his championship race in California.

As usual, Pixar's high quality animation is at its finest. Save for some dragging parts, the overall script seemed ok. The beauty of this film is how inamate objects become personified, not just the cars but Route 66 itself.

This is a story that tries to capture the glorious old days and how these are easily killed by modernism.

Overall rating: 3/5

Welcome to MediaTalk at your fingertips!

We make reviews on what we have heard, seen, and read lately to guide us and understand the workings of mass media.

So far, I am giving a summary of the movies I've seen lately. Later, I hope to give a longer article like a movie analysis. These are the movies I've seen lately:

MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND (comedy/fantasy) presents feminism in a satirical way in the context of a male-dominated sexist world. Rating: 2.5/5

MONSTER HOUSE (action/fantasy/adventure/ horror/comedy) reevaluates how much the of the inner child is lost by many adults today and the efforts needed to recover it. Rating: 3/5

SUPERMAN (action/fantasy/adventure) revived the old comic superhero as well as the relived the memory of the late Christopher Reeve, but he also might revive the sagging America's superhero image in today's times. Rating: 3/5

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (action/ adventure/comedy) , a film two hours and a half tries to be at par with the box office epic films, but somehow fails to transcend its usual trite entertainment, adventure, and comic formula. Rating: 3/5

CARS is next!

So, welcome to Mediatalk at your Fingertips!