12/30/2016

An Appointment with One's Dirty Mind





FREAK
Ryan Staake, 2014

Human sexuality has always been a selling point in any medium --- may it be television, cinema, music, literature. Sex sells. Admit it or not, majority of the human race are racy creatures. Filmmaker Ryan Staake knows this. That's why he came up with a naughty music video for Freak, a collaboration between Steve Aoki and a bunch of other millennial DJs.

Made with clever camera shots and skillfull editing, Freak features six characters in scenes that are seemingly sexual in nature. It is sexual innuendo in moving images. The characters are the Wallpaper Woman (Lara D. Wolf), the Scrubbing Girl (Grace Marie McGookey), the Trampoline Woman (Ashley Blankenship), the TV Man (Gus Renaud), the Gym Man (Paul Fears), and the Cereal Man (Samuel Shurtleff).

I suggest watching the video first before reading my commentary.





12/26/2016

Fave Movie Posters: The Yakuza




If The Godfather is to mafia, The Yakuza is to, well, yakuza. The '70s saw the rebirth of gangster movies. (Thanks, Corleone.) Among the best ones included Sydney Pollack's The Yakuza. This Robert Mitchum-starrer tells the lifelong friendship between two men, Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) and Ken Tanaka (Ken Takakura). Both men love the same woman (Keiko Kishi), but circumstances turned hate into honor.

11/05/2016

Dancing Towards Emptiness





WIDE OPEN
Dom&Nic, 2016


Along with other '90s techno badass such as Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, and The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers are the pioneers of the big beat genre. (Dig Your Own Hole is probably one of the greatest albums in music's history.) Infusing raw bassline with exhilarating electro beats, The Chemical Brothers offer adrenaline rush for the ears and the mind. That's why I've followed their career since I first heard Block Rockin' Beats.

The other thing that makes The Chemical Brothers endearing is their love for intriguing visuals, which can be seen in their music videos. The group has worked with acclaimed filmmakers such as Michel Gondry (Let Forever Be, Star Guitar, and Go) and Spike Jonze (Elektrobank).

Wide Open is taken out of The Chemical Brothers' latest album, Born in the Echoes. It features Beck on vocals. (He kinda sounds like Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on this track.)

Shot in a single take, Wide Open focuses on a female dancer (Sonoya Mizuno) in an empty warehouse. As she dances her emotion to the song, Sonoya transforms into trypophobia-inducing animation until there's nothing left of her human self.

8/21/2016

Caging Libertine





BOXING HELENA
Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 1993


Nick: You're everything to me.
Helena: You're nothing to me.

Boxing Helena is what happens when Fatal Attraction makes love with Misery. After seeing the greatest f*ck of his life once again, brilliant surgeon Dr. Nick Cavanaugh (Julian Sands) decides to leave everything behind: his career, his girlfriend, his sanity, his everything – all just to be with Helena (a stunning Sherilyn Fenn), the woman of his wet dreams. Helena is everything to Nick, just as much as Nick is nothing to Helena.

To be closer to Helena, Nick moves in to the house he inherited from his recently deceased mother. And so he feeds his obsession by stalking Helena from his car, from the tree, from every corner of his timid existence.

Nick later invites Helena to his house party, to which Helena obliges. After leaving her purse, Helena is forced to go back to Nick's house. A terrible accident would later leave Helena at the hands of Nick's mercy (and obsession), making her a captive in Nick's mansion.

Boxing Helena is very much like Helena the character. Helena is essentially a libertine and a drifter, the kind so aloof no one can ever have her for themselves. Such personality is what attracted Nick to Helena. He knows he can't have her, so he wants her that bad. (Even though they only had a one-night stand.)

Venus de Milo, mother, and Helena – these three women would play a vital role to Nick's manhood.

7/05/2016

The Code of Silence





CODE INCONNU (CODE UNKNOWN)
Michael Haneke, 2000


Ah. The feeling of wanting to say something but can't say it. This dilemma is what Austrian auteur Michael Haneke explores in Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (otherwise known as Code Unknown).

It all started with a piece of thrown garbage. From there we see a series of vignettes about various lives, people who are trapped in various worlds of silence.

Jean (played by Alexandre Hamidi), an angst-ridden farm lad, is sick and tired of his emotionally distant father (Sepp Bierbichler). He runs away to live with his brother, an out-of-the-country photojournalist (Thierry Neuvic). Instead, Jean finds his brother's girlfriend, Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche), who gives Jean the key to their apartment. Being the douchebag that he is, Jean throws a piece of garbage at Maria (Luminița Gheorghiu), a foreigner begging on the street because she just lost her job as a newspaper vendor. Amadou (Ona Lu Yenke), a Frenchman of African origin, sees Jean's rudeness and demands Jean to apologize to the old lady; when Jean refuses to do so, the two guys fight, causing the police and Anne to enter the scene.

Communication, or the lack thereof, takes the center stage in Code Unknown. In this film, Haneke shows us different kinds of muteness: physical, foreign, forced, and self-inflicted.

4/30/2016

Fave Movie Posters: The Getaway




One of the hottest Hollywood couples back in the day, Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw used to be what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are today. At the height of their real-life romance, McQueen and MacGraw starred in Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, a 1972 heist film about a couple on the run from the bad dudes.

3/30/2016

I Am a Woman, Watch Me Make a Movie





Eve has definitely come a long way since she was allegedly taken out of Adam's rib. She has long stepped out of his shadow, standing up for herself and speaking her mind. Eve doesn't need many Twitter followers or a thousand of Facebook likes just to prove her worth. She knows she's worth it.

Cinema has given the female species an opportunity to express themselves; and the opportunity isn't wasted. Although filmmaking is mostly a man's world, women have become the captain of their own cinematic ship.

In celebration of being a woman, I listed down some of my favorite films directed by women. (In alphabetical order.)

2/28/2016

A Failed Promise





CAROL
Todd Haynes, 2015

Rare is it in life when we have an instant attraction with a stranger. No such thing as love at first sight, just "like at first sight," which eventually leads to something deeper. That's exactly what happens in Todd Haynes' latest film, Carol.

Haynes' homage to old America (the 1950s in Far from Heaven and the 1930s in HBO's Mildred Pierce) continues in Carol.

Two women at a different point in their lives cross path, become friends, and have an affair in 1950s New York. Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) is going through a rough patch with her soon-to-be-ex-husband (Kyle Chandler). Meanwhile, Therese Belivet (Patricia Rooney Mara) is a young woman with a brighter future: a marriage proposal from a clingy pseudo-boyfriend and a potential career in photography. Carol is a housewife. Therese is a shopgirl. Two women cloistered by society's sexist box.

We see most of the film from Therese's point of view. She's a young woman who initially evaded taking risks, avoiding taking photos of people because she has some affinity issues. And then she meets Carol. Therese finally opens up her heart for the very first time. And she's now taking photos of people, of Carol to be exact. (So she has Carol to thank for that.)

1/14/2016

Lez Do It: The Best Lesbian Music Videos I've Seen





Ain't love such a lovely feeling? So lovely, like women. Love and women are basically synonymous with each other; they are both beautiful, fascinating, sweet, moody, and unpredictable. Love and women are a many-splendored thing, but most of all they can make you go insane.

When two ladies fall in love with each other, it's like a super-gay-lactic explosion of milk and honey, a pretty rainbow you can't take your eyes off. Ever since Blue is the Warmest Color was released... ever since Ellen Page came out... and ever since same-sex marriage was legalized in the US, gay ladies are starting to be seen and recognized and, maybe, accepted. Heck, even Philippine TV had its very first lesbian-themed show.

11/05/2015

Fave Movie Moments: V for Vendetta





"It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one."

My most fave part in V for Vendetta is the Valerie moment. The film deals with struggle for freedom in a totalitarian system, a government that objects "the different and the subversive."

Imprisoned, Evey (Natalie Portman) finds refuge in a series of letters "given" to her by "next-cell neighbor" Valerie (Natasha Wightman), an actress who was incarcerated for being homosexual.
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