Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

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I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to Korean movies. This fascination has been going on for quite some time, like 6 years haha.  I have no regret of worshiping the whole Korean film industry because they deserve the recognition and success they have. There’s a lot of good movies out there in every genre, to say the least. What really draws me to the industry is their high value for good, daring and brilliant storytelling.

The latest Korean movie I watched, ‘The Beauty Inside‘ completely blew me away. I thought I was only watching a a ‘probably-good’ flick only to find out it’s a deeply moving and thoughtful film.The Beauty Inside is sort of  remake of the 2o12 web-film from Intel about a man name Kim Woo-Jin who changes his body and appearance every single day. That’s 365 days of new faces a year of waking up either as a young man or a young woman, old people or a kid, thug looking or good-looking, and sometimes even a foreigner. It’s a difficult life for Woo-Jin who surrendered into solitary seclusion as a furniture maker;  devoid of physical relationships aside from his best friend and his mother. However everything changes when he met and fell in love with the beautiful Yi-soo (Han Hyo Joo).  Can they make it? Clue: It’s going to be one of the most unforgettable love story out there. Spare the me task of pouring in the details and watch it for yourselves hehe. This trailer will summarize its for me then!

I listed down my reactions about its story and how it connects to real life . So here’s my seven reasons why I love this film:

  1. Han Hyo Joo delivers! – With 123 different actors playing the same character  Woo-Jin, TBI is a very difficult  yet a special film to balance and one miscast of the constant female lead would sent the movie to a disaster. Thankfully the charismatic and arguably one of the most beautiful Korean actress Han Hyo Joo delivers another compelling and solid performance to lift the movie to another level. It seems like in every movie she’s in I cant help but google her once again to look for her filmography. Also checkout her other must-see works in Always, Cold Eyes and Heaven’s Postman
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  2.  A unique love story – When you put in so many actors playing the same lover boy (or girl) and all of them good for a day’s scene you know you’re in for a threat. It’s a spectacularly difficult and awkward relationship between Won-Jin and Yi-soo. But as we see them transform from random strangers to a strange couple who has to deal with so many challenges we cant help but feel in love. It’s a supernatural tale grounded to reality that felt so personal and real. It’s a minor miracle the whole story worked so damn well.
  3. The film shows a life of an artist – One of the plot elements that endeared myself to the story is that it is deeply rooted to an artist’s life. Not just a hobbyist artist, but an actual artist who makes a living out of his craft. Woo-Jin is a great furniture designer. The film does not totally show the his whole creative process from inspiration to final product but basically highlight an artist’s ambitions, occasional selfishness and preference of an isolated life. It really make sense with or without his paranormal condition.
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  4. Brand new appreciation for furnitures – in speaking of art, there’s a lot of great looking furnitures in the movie. I really love those! To be honest, I don’t really took notice the designs in chairs, tables and cabinets.  Let’s say I’m converted now thanks to this movie. And I promise I’ll look for a good chair for my studio.
  5. A metaphor for people with disabilities – Now let’s dive deep to the personal aspects that makes this movie great. If we take a closer look at the movie, one cant help that the story can be seen as a parable about people born with disabilities. Woo-jin’s condition is a supernatural curse and his struggles that goes with it completely reflect how we, people with disabilities, live our lives. One of the main theme of the story is about being ‘negatively’ different from the society. Woo-Jin is the Edward Scissorhands and  even the monstrous Beast (in Beauty and the Beast). Woo-jin’s isolated life is a direct symptom of that disability, his difficulty of having a real relationship especially a romantic one is divine pain. Yes, because of our conditions most of us have to live life with shame and insecurities. That’s a hard truth. And society’s misunderstanding, lack of compassion and even bullying isn’t helping  PWD at all.
  6. A different perspective in relationship – things would soon get ugly when you reach the third act of the movie. Just when things start to unravel the script delivers a gut punch on a loop-side relationship. We’ve seen Edward Scissorhand’s and The Beast’s struggle to fight for their love against society, but I don’t think we were given a clearer perspectives on how Kim and Belle would feel fighting for that same love. The Beauty Inside successfully shown the ‘normal’ side’s hurt and psychological descent to the point of depression. In this case,we expereince Yi-soo’s struggle to protect her love for Woo-jin at an even  greater expense. Honestly, I don’t think I looked into that perspective and  I cant help but feel sorry for every ghosts of girlfriends past.
  7. Sacrifice and Acceptance – At the end of the day, we have to make sacrifices and acceptance for Love right?  The trick is knowing and trusting how much we are willing to sacrifice for that relationship. Sometimes it is really OK to walk away and let go of the other person – because it’s the better choice (right Edward Scissorhands?). But the most important thing we could from this story is about acceptance. Beauty inside is a reminder that real beauty is inside,  people just have to learn to accept each other’s imperfection.

Love, that shitty, ugly, painful  thing two people go through, is what Beauty Inside is all about. It’s an absolute beauty this one!

The Beauty Inside will be shown on Philippine theaters in 2016.

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Note: All pictures in this post are taken from the internet. Credit to the owners. 

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2015 is ‘The’ year to remember for film lovers. There were just too many good and exciting films all throughout the year. Fortunately, I was able to watch a lot of them in theaters, streaming and some other means. Now its time for me to list down my top 10 films I’ve watched for this year. It was not not an easy task but the Force was with me so the result is a mixture of big budget Hollywood feature, indie films and even foreign and local films made the list. As a rule only films released in 2015 are included which are judged based on its quality, ambition, story’s strength and it’s impact to the community. So here they are:

10. The Revenant – Lets start the countdown with the Curious Case of Leonardo DiCaprio. Finally! The Revenant is probably the film that would give him his long overdue Best Actor award in Oscar. This year Leo  teamed up with last season’s Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to craft this brutal and intense tale of survival. The film is shot entirely of natural light in remote winter terrains in Canada that makes this film so damn hard to finish. It will be a great shame if Leo won’t win the Oscar next year.

image-via-20th-century-fox

image-via-20th-century-fox

9. Kingsman: The Secret Service – Name a director who has not made a bad film, I have Matthew Vaughn on top of the list. For some reasons he is not a household name but many would be recognize his works like Stardust, Kickass and X-Men First Class. With Kingsman he successfully validated he’s one of the most entertaining directors under the radar by giving us a creative, joyful and fun installment to the spy genre. Expect his signature color palette and shocking well-timed scenes of brutality (those poor heads).

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8Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Streaking right before the awards season this independent film is charming the sh*t out of our innermost  adolescence and that need for friendship. It’s a story of two young friends whose main hobby is to make ‘absolutely  terrible short films’. Their story took a spectacular turn when the geeky and socially awkward Greg meets Rachel a girl diagnosed with cancer. It’s a thoughtful story I can personally relate about why and how far friends (er special friends) would go the distance if it means happiness for the dear patient.

image via moviebearspodcast-com

image via moviebearspodcast-com

7.  Sicario – There’s something about this film that draws me into it,  before I even saw it. Is it the poster, the cast, the director or the skin crawling story? Probably all of them. It’s a serious film about the war against the Mexican drug cartel that takes us through the eyes of an FBI agent recruited by the CIA for the operation. Filmed with drop dead gorgeous cinematography by master lensman Roger Deakins under the direction of up and coming director Denis Villeneuve. And with powerful performances from Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benecio del Toro what could go wrong?

image via monkeysfightingrobots-com

image via monkeysfightingrobots-com

6. Mad Max: Fury Road– There are film franchises that are prayed by millions to come back and there some that don’t need to be reborn, Fury Road belongs to the latter category. But just because nobody asked for another maddening ride in the post-acalyptic wasteland doesn’t mean it has no right to come back. It is simply the greatest action film ever made. This Mad Max reboot/sequel is a long chase sequence filled with bombastic stunts, adrenaline filled car chases and a surprising feministic core highlighted by Charlize Theron’s performance.

image via popoptiq-com

image via popoptiq-com

5. Inside Out – Pixar is back with what could be one of their very best, Inside Out delights the audience with a story told from the inside of our heads that is helmed by five distinct emotions: Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Sadness. It’s a coming of age story of girl who moves to the not-so-fun big city of San Francisco as she struggles with adjusting in a new environment, loss and ultimately finding that inner strength inside us. As usual incredible animation and family friendly roller coaster story that we have all come to love with Pixar.

image via Forbes.com

image via Forbes.com

4. That Thing Called Tadhana – As a Filipino film lover it’s really sad to know that our local industry is on a seemingly eternal downward spiral quality-wise, and behold the Messiah has come! Tadhana is a rare gem that captured the #hugot nerves of Pinoy moviegoers without sacrificing the quality of the story. Packed with, well, hugot lines Tadhana is a drop-dead charming road film about the self-imposed road trip of a broken-hearted Mace and journeyman Anthony (played by Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman respectively). It’s a take of a Filipino pop culture of travelling to Sagada when broken-hearted. It’s smart, witty and something every Filipino deserves in the age of sickening commercial loveteams.

image via philstar.com

image via philstar.com

3. Twenty – from the tremendously successful Korean film industry comes this heartfelt comedy about three friends in their 20’s as they have to deal with social expectations, responsibilities and educations, all while dealing with problems with girls, beers, getting laid and the next great mischief. It’s like the original American Pie only better in all aspects. As a guy in my 20’s the issues are truly relatable and lingering, particularly the idea of chasing our dream or doing what the society expects. It’s a testament that 20’s are universal and so much fun!

image via koreaboo-com

image via koreaboo-com

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Now this is the film franchise prayed by millions to come back and boy, Disney knocked this one out of the ball park! For sure, you’ve heard so much good thing about this movie but all I can say is it’s what every Star Wars fan wanted and deserved. It’s been forty-two years since Luke Skywalker’s story ended (I only twenty in my case.. I was seven on New Year’s even when I first saw Empire) and we really don’t have any idea how much we truly missed that galaxy. Oh I love Rey and BB-8!!!

image via collider.com

image via collider.com

1. Heneral Luna – This comes as a surprise but I’m not kidding Heneral Luna rightfully deserve this place on my list. It’s the only film that made me cry (literally) after watching it on theaters. It’s that big feeling of relief that finally there is one period film or a Filipino film we can truly be proud of. This is the sole movie that awakens so much conversation about history, patriotism and how much the history repeats itself in the modern seating.

It is the biographical account of Gen. Antonio Luna’s exploits  during the Filipino-American War. For an independent film it looks expensive because of it’s high production value. But most of all it’s uncompromising take on an imperfect war hero. In short, we need this kind of films. Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Filipino!

image via Artikulo Uno

image via Artikulo Uno

The Runners Up:
Fast and Furious 7Best of No Nation, MIssion Impossible: Rogue Nation, Kid Kulafu & The Martian

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It’s not a little known secret that a big chunk of Filipino movie goers doesn’t watch their own Tagalog films. This may sound un-patriotic but I’m part of that statistic. The Pinoy cinematic business, particularly the mainstream side, seems to be stuck on a limbo of mediocrity and plot formulas all these decades. Studios are just content to sell good-looking faces and love teams  rather than offering good stories, as if the movies have to dumb down to make it ‘pangmasa‘. But the times has changed, this is the Internet Age and we can now compare movies from other countries. Man, we’ re lagging behind big time. I can’t help but think, is our film industry really this Hopeless?

But apparently there was, there is and there will be plenty of reasons to be hopeful for! Over the years I secretly watched our own films only if (and only if) there’s a strong word of mouth about a movie. So yeah I was able to witness some great films like the masterpiece “Magnifico”, Oscar hoped-fuls “Dead Na Si Lolo” and  “Ploning”, the historical epic “Bonifacio” and even “Thelma” not because I’m a runner. I love this films. But I don’t think I can forgive the people who made the atrocity called “My Little Bossings”. But then came “That Thing Called Tadhana” and like a God-sent blessing suddenly there’s Hope for brighter cinematic days ahead.

The story of ‘Tadhana’ (literally translated as Fate or Destiny) is a pretty simple story about a chance encounter in an airport of two broken souls Mace (Angelica Panganiban) and Anthony (JM de Guzman). One is a recently cheated, scandalous but smart beautiful woman and the other is a mysterious young man of calculated words with a flair for sarcasm. After arriving in Manila the pair decided to set out on a road trip to the north to find their selves on the process. It’s a simple yet charismatic movie between two characters travelling and talking to each others, the entire screen time. So lower the expectation for crazy scenes and let your mind travel with these oddly paired characters.   It’s an adventure to Baguio and Sagada from Italy and Manila that asks us the question “Where do broken hearts go?

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from: misstache.wordpress.com

“Tadhana” is a like a smart reincarnation of one of the greatest love story ever told on film “Before Sunrise” which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary this very February! Please don’t roll your eyes because Tadhana  isn’t really of  prototype or a copycat Before Sunrise. Both are completely different stories, told with different tones and purposes. Before Sunrise is a film about two people looking for destiny and falling in love on a road trip. Its characters, Jesse and Celine, talked about the beautiful things in their life and how they see the world in their care-free youthful perspective. Tadhana however is a film about shattered souls looking for answers to their fates. Mace and Anthony talked about their heartbreaks and pains in life even through their ‘hugot’ punchlines. Before Sunrise is philosophical in nature, Tadhana is a smartass comedy!

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The Magic Lives on! Above is Before Sunrise in 1994, below is Tadhana in 2014. I love both of this films!

There’s plenty to like about ‘Tadhana’ but perhaps the strongest of them is how incredibly written this film is. Director and script writer, Antoinette Jadaone, just pulled off the winning formula for such a small-scale production to capture the hearts of the masses and converts the doubtful by mere strength of her story. You don’t see a film mutilate ‘The’ John Lloyd Cruz (ironically Anglica’s current boyfriend to add pun to the story) and get’s away with the murder (by making him a legend). This is not a story written based on a love team, it’s based on the countless tales of heartbreaks sewn together in a triumphant harmony of punch lines. #HugotPaMore! It’s a smart, funny and brutally honest take on love and heartbreak the way we have Never seen before. For a February release, Tadhana is not a heartbreak story we need, it’s a powerful story we rightly deserve!

The acting is surprisingly top-notch. With only two characters in the movie Angelica Panganiban made a killing spree of what could be a performance a lifetime. Winner na winner si ate, grabe. She was simply incredible and spot-on as Mace the expressive, smart and talented woman whose lifelong dream shattered in a betrayal. Many would how would you react from a nasty break-up, well, Anglica’s Mace is the answer. There are unforgettable little scenes in the film were had it been  delivered by a lesser talented actress would have lesser to no effect to the viewers. She just nailed them and carried the load of the film anchored by the steady presence of the nakakabading JM de Guzman. This is Angelica’s show, and she’s ‘Sya ang nagwagi’ (She’s the winner).

That Thing Called has this great story that speaks for everyone’s experience: HeartBreak. Its a moving story that celebrtes the soul-searching power of travelling and the wonders that good conversations can bring. It has a magic that leaves viewers spellbound. The amazing thing is ‘Tadhana’ has only just began! If we analyze the story, Mace and Anthony has not reached their Tadhana or destiny yet. Phase 1 pa yata to. This is only a story of how they met and opened up to one another on how they got hurt and ultimately helped each other to overcome the hurt.  There are definitely plenty of rooms for sequels and spin-offs, because I believe their real ‘Tadhana’ is still ahead of them.. after all Before Sunrise went on to continue its story on  Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

Tadhana Legacy.

There’s another good thing about That Thing Called Tadhana that is keeping me excited for the years to come. I have this hopeful feeling  that this movie would change the landscape of the local film industry. Now look, the film is independently produced for an indie film festival so it’s a given that the budget was very small. But the way it performed so well in the box office to the tune of P120 million pesos (oh the power of strong word of mouth), it should give the major production studios a change of perspective. We don’t have to go down to another dumber level just to make it pangmasa. Just imagine just how much money ‘Tadhana’ would make had it been marketed extensively by a major network.

Tadhana, I believe, is doing the same thing “Cape No. 7” from Taiwan did in 2008. It was a small film that captured the hearts of the island state (and Asia) and racked up record breaking box-office numbers. It changed Taiwn film industry when the studios started to trust and give more freedom to writers/directors to do their thing. The result speaks for itself as they went on to produce monstrously successful films like  Seediq Bale and You Are the Apple of My Eye. Now the big question is how our local industry will react to this incredible success of ‘Tadhana’ now that there’s also money on the well-written and heartfelt stories. I hope one day directors would no longer go down to a low level aesthetically just to cater a kilig-demand, and maybe perhaps we will be able to forgive the likes of my My Little Bossings.

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The Year 2014 has finally come to an end a few days ago.  For the movie-going public it was generally a good year with lots of surprise non-franchise crowd pleasers making big at the box office like Maleficent and Insterstellar. Critics are also having a picnic with acclaimed films like Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything just to name a few that will battle it out on the Oscars next month. But superhero films are undeniably the kings of the dollar haul department with Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Captain America: Winter Soldiers all made up the biggest revenues and at the same time pleases the eternally-snob critics.

For me it’s a comeback year. In 2013, I only managed to watch less than 50 films and decided not to post a top 10 list. But 2014, man it was a blast having to watch triple the quantity from the previous year. What’s even surprising is the amount of really good movies that blew me away. Films that have great story that captures not only the attention but the imagination. Film are not necessary the loudest but the ones that makes a great impact to audiences. So here’s my Top 10 films for 2015 ranked by awesomeness and badassness:

10. As Above, So Below
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To start things off is this lesser known found-footage horror movie set in Paris France, or more precisely under it. The whole majority of the film was shot entirely on the, ironically, on the actual catacombs located beneath the glittering romantic city. The story is about a team of archaeologist and grave diggers looking for the legendary Philosophers’ Stone. The result is a chilling and compelling horror movie that plays around the methology Alchemaic legends and the theory of hell’s location. It’s a two hours of terrifying fun.

9. Ilo-ilo
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Ok, we’re back again in Singapore! After getting mesmerized in that country, I quickly googled their best films. And to my surprised they actually won a Camera d’Or thropy in the Cannes Film Fest award about a movie home I thought is a Filipino movie. It’s an intimate family drama set during the 1997 financial crisis about the Lim family who hired a Filipina domestic helper who came from the Ilo-ilo province (thus the title). The film is a unique and heartfelt take for a foreign filmmaker that pays tribute to their former maides… something both countries can be proud of.

8. The Guest
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Perhaps the most surprising small movie this year managed to capture the attentions of both critics and the few audiences who watched it is this psychological thriller. It tells about a veteran soldier who visits the family of his fallen brother in arms. It’s a film so much mystery surrounding the titular character portrayed magnificently by Dan Steven. The guy practically carried the whole film! Charming, Suave, Badass. Dan Steven might just be the next big thing.

7. Grand Budaphest Hotel
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It still weird to see Lord Voldemort aka Ralph Fiennes  playing a good guys. But he managed it just perfectly well  in this weird light hearted adventure comedy in the Grand Budapest from director Wes Anderson. It’s a story about a legendary concierge named Gustave H of the Grand Budapest Hotel as he mentors his apprentice Zero Moustafa through the World War as they steal a priceless painting and fight their freedom. Epic adventure.

6. X-Men: Days of Future Fast
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X-Men is back! It’s time to bury the franchise’ dark days caused by X-3 and X-men Origins. Coming off the surprise success The Wolverine and a direct sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class reboot, and with Bryan Singer helming once again in the directors chair, Day of Future Past delivers an atomic bomb that revived the franchise to relevance and successfully cleared the timeline for yet another clean slate of mutant adventures. And that kitchen scene featuring Quicksilver is worth the money.

5. Interstellar
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So it’s a Christopher Nolan year again and this around he’s taking us into space into what could be the best sci-fi film in years (since his Inception). Its one hell of a ride as the filmmaker once again teases us what if the world end and if mankind is destined to leave Earth? I guess one way to find out is to travel to other galaxies through a blackhole in Saturn. I like how Nolan stretches once again the limits of sci-fi and science and mold into his story. It’s a pretty long movie, not his best one either but you came out wondering.. what the F was that?

4. The Raid 2: Berandal
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The Raid 2 practically embarrassed all of Hollywood’s action movie in scope of ambition, fight choreography and brutality. Set right after the event of the first film, Rama must once again fight for his life against the deadly crime underworld. This time the stakes are higher with deadlier villains from top to bottom with more broken bones and heigher body counts. The fight scenes are just simply terrific as expected and the story is surprisingly deep and polished coated with political thriller. But I came here for the fighting and I came out victorious.

3. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends
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If you think animes are better off staying animated for kids sake, think again. Rorouni Kenshin was first made into film 2010 as an experiment if the world can embrace a dark samurai tale given the right kind of budget, respect and talent from the filmmakers. The result was a definitive yes as it warrant not just but two back-to-back sequels! The last one being the The Legends Ends could possibly be one of the greatest anime adaptation of all time. Legend Ends successfully merged the late half of the Shishio Kyoto Arc in the anime into a grand  sword fighting spectacle never seen before. One notable improvement is the production values that ends with the epic final fight scene between Shishio against the four guys.

2. Nightcrawler
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Two words. Jake Gyllenhall. This is a masterpiece. The lesser the words to describe it the better. Its so cool you have to watch it to experience it.

1. The Book of Life
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And the title goes to: The Book of Life. A story about three childhood friends as they group to fulfill their destinies that transcends beyond social duties to the afterlife. This is a joyous and triumphant hymnbook about the power of love, friendship and love. Packed with drop dead gorgeous visual designs and terrific soundtrack the story digs deep not only towards the afterlife but all the way to the audiences’s inner souls. It teaches us to treasure our family values, the importance of friendship and honoring traditions and obligation. And above all, Love shall continue to live.

The Runners Up:

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How many times do I need to say I’m sorry guys for being from this blog? This time I really  mean it. Insert: confession coming.

September 2014. Now its been four long years since I started writing in this page. I’ve always been faithful to the blog. There were of course, a few weeks-long of  hiatus throughout  but never this serious. What is happening is, I’m now almost at the end of the rope. I seem to be losing the juice guys… the stories never stops coming but its just.. I think  whats missing is that drive, that fire to write what needs to be written to tell those stories that needs to be share. This never happened before as if either I’m a facing a monster called ‘Writers Block’ or perhaps its just the end of Lapiskamay dot WordPress dot com… I dunno let’s see. Perhaps this is still part of growing up.

But I’m not letting go without sharing something I liked recently, it’s a Taiwanese movie called “You Are The Apple of my Eye“. I’m a movie lover who searches for good stories anywhere regardless of the language and the cinema it came from. Some days I get lucky to find something. But there are days when I stumble across this priceless gem. Taiwan did it again (after Secret and Cape No. 7)!

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But I have to admit “You Are the Apple of my Eye” got some similarities with the Korean film “Architecture 101” which I absolutely loved too. Both uses flashbacks, both are Asian  romance films that are insanely nostalgic, both shared scenes on train tracks and both share the same philosophy on the way they end their stories (sorry no spoilers here). So here’s Apple’s synopsis err trailer (Update: It’s actually the movie! Go watch!):

Here’s a quick synopsisy from Asian Fixation:
“It’s the year 1996 and Ko-Teng (Ko Chen-Tung) is only 16 years old, a senior in high school. He, along with his four other friends, has a crush on the smartest student in class, Shen Chia-Yi (Michelle Chen). The five of them has different ways of pursuing her, but for Ko-Teng, competing with her and annoying her endlessly are the only things he could do. After doing something foolish in class, Ko-Teng’s punishment is to sit in front of Shen Chia-Yi so that she can scold him everytime he’s doing something inappropriate. Shen Chia-Yi challenges Ko-Teng’s intelligence that pushes him to do better in school. It’s the start of a decade of competing with each other and falling deep in like.”
Asian Fixation blog

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looks familiar? Architecture 101 has this scene too! 🙂

So what did I liked about the movie? Where do I start? haha. Ok the story is really nice perhaps too damn honest one could swear it really happened somewhere in our past. It’s the kind of movie that transport us to our high school years with all those pop cultures and feelings and crushes and stuffs. Again its an honest take on teenage love and friendship. The story captures the emotions from our souls, bakes it and serve it hot and sweet (sometimes crushingly painful).  The casts were terrific in portraying their characters specially the lead guys (especially the naked parts). I love Michelle Chen‘s charming portrayal of the nerdy girl and all-around-good-girl crush ng bayan. Apple is so sweet and  truly funny, I had a lot of LOL moments, alone. Dad thought I was weird last night.

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But the biggest sell of the movie is their philosophy on love, on losing it and life in general. It’s very rare for a romantic-comedy film to have deep grip on problems beyond romance. It asks the classic What If question by showing the lovers talking on the phone asking themselves “What if there’s a parallel universe?” Perhaps they’ll be together. Perhaps the guy decide to man up for her. And there’s a few more What Ifs  then there’s this beautiful quote:

“People always say that the most wonderful time in a relationship happens before it really happens. When the two people are together, the magic vanishes.”

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Apple is a movie that is never afraid what to show even it means showing some gross scene unacceptable by the Church (trust me this film will never reach the Philippine theater). It did not lost its identify to show this wonderful story the way it meant to be. Kudos to the film maker, the producers and sue me for writing this really bad movie review.

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By the time a boy reaches 17 he’d be out of high school and choose a path in college. That choice will define who he’ll be in the future. In my case I never had much choice, don’t even know what kind of life I’d have at the first place. Fine Arts seems nice but I wasn’t sure I was afraid because my talents was and still is limited, but to be honest it’s out of the question. My family just can’t afford it that time, my sister’s on med school in a big university and two brothers in high school. It was pure bad timing that’s all. I guess I took up Accountancy because it’s the first college course that pops up alphabetically.

What I didn’t know all these years is that there’s another one next to it: Architecture. Why didn’t I think of that?

Present time, while killing of boredom in a Board Meeting I suddenly had the craving of watching a, well sue me,  love story! Based on experience, the best love-story are found in South Korea! Somehow I found my way to a  movie with a curious title: Architecture 101. And disappoint, they did not.

movie poster from Hancinema.net

movie poster from Hancinema.net

 

Architecture 101  is a moving throwback of epic nostalgic proportions. It’s so beautiful and poignant that I can’t help to look back on some things that happened. The movie connects to me like no other had. It’s one of those movies that hits you deep and demands those emotions to be felt, like pain, like love. The story was very well written and unpretentious as the picture introduce about two middle-age people; an architect and a client who shared a common past.  Through the architect’s point of view during the present time as he builds this wonderful house for the lady client out there at  Jeju Island, the narrative is a colorfully mesh that shared past some half a lifetime ago, back in college, back in the Architectural 101 class… what happened to this two?

I wont talk much of the film’s story but trust me it’s not a sappy kilig-to-the-bones love story but rather an intimate view of the lives of these two characters. It’s a film that throws back at you massive dose of nostalgia through those beautiful 1990’s flashback. It’s a film that let’s you nosedive, should you allow it, to the past.. to that stupid first love, to that stupid first heartbreak. And why the hell did I not took Architecture?! The story does not pretend, but tells the story as it should be bounded by the moral of society and how people sometimes mess up with their decisions. Ultimately, it painfully reminds us of the things that we lost, things that we can never get back. It’s a tale of Love, Nostalia and, deal with it boy, Heartbreak.

But you know what? The movie teaches something: we can make up for lost time or start all over again. Like what Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad said recently, “Take a chance. Take a risk. Find that Passion. Rekindle it. Fall in love all over again. It’s really worth it.

I guess this is a case of saving the best for last. I just watch Robin Williams much-beloved non-comedy film called The Dead Poets Society. It was terrific. A true timeless classic. A master piece. And I only just watched it.

Robin Williams died the other day and sent shockwaves to the world on mouths wide-open. Look I’m one of those nineties kids he entertained through his humor and genuine charm with movies such as Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, Aladain, The Bicentennial Man and Flubber just to name a few. Those were good movies sent from heaven from a kid’s perspective. His smile meant the true meaning of life to us. His adventures speak for the unlimited power of courage. And his charm and heroics  in those movies, those were the first definition of what a true love feels like. Robin Williams was, is and always will be our hero. And no amount of negativity and pain about his life and the way he died can ever ever erase those treasured memories.

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Now back to Dead Poets Society: It’s a drama about teenagers and boarding schools and poetry. Things a 7-12 year-old kid can understand and much less enjoy. DPS along with his fine performances on the serious movies  like “Goood Will Hunting”, “Insomnia”, and “What Dreams May Come” came much later when I started to devour movies as an appreciation of art, talents and film-making. He was great in those characters. But not a character is as memorable as Prof. John Keating in The Dead Poets Society. He gave the character a face and a soul that imprints deep into the soul of the viewers. Let us not be cynical, we secretly wish that our teachers and professors are as good or unorthodoxically fearless/effective as Prof. Keating. He’s a dream mentor we never had. Thanks God there’s Robin William to fulfill that part.

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I wont be making much review about the film because I don’t think I can give justice to it using my own words. But mark whatever integrity I have left the movie is beautiful and pretty much as important in our society today. The movie is about education on an elite boarding and of how a single teacher can make a group of boys change their lives forever. Education, education… society view this word as a noun defined as sort of key to a brighter figurative room. While we are supposed to see it as a blessing, a privilege when we should be consuming it like a blessing, like food that should be devoured and enjoyed to make one’s life better. But strip the movie down to the basic core we have these young boys that needs guidance where John Keating came in. It was a kind of unnatural teacher-student relationship that is still debated nowadays if its effective or destructive. I guess it depends on the actor who plays them.

But Prof. John Keating is sure is fun. Just like Robin Williams, he’s always fun and never fails to make us laugh despite his deep sorrow and loneliness inside.. which ultimately got the better of him at the end. The movie pretty much reflected how he come to our lives as a Godsent character and how cruel he has to leave. But one thing is sure  that when he left by the door, I was one of those who proudly stood up and  said: O Captain, My Captain.

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