If not for Avatar in 3D shown at IMAX, I would have skipped the moviehouses altogether during the Holiday season. Thanks to the break and a lull in work load, I finally managed to watch a number of films that were either not shown in the moviehouses in the first place or I missed in the previous months because of sidelines. So a short visit to MCS allowed me to catch stuff that local cinemas failed to screen and a trek to MOA allowed me to watch one that you just has to be seen on the biggest screen available.

  • How To Be–  A dysfunctional teenager invites into his home a famous psychologist and book author to help him figure out his life and his strained relationship with his parents. It’s quirky, it’s almost weird, it’s funny and touching at times. It’s Robert Pattinson’s best film to date, and he’s prettier as an emotionally disturbed kid than as a 118-year-old fangless “vegan” bloodsucker.
  • 500 Days of Summer – It’s the indie film that luckily made it to local moviehouses and got everyone talking about the nuances of failed relationships. Boy falls for girl, the feeling isn’t mutual. Sometimes two people spend so many happy moments together, and then everything goes kaput because in spite of the good times, someone’s ought to realize that the other person is not the right one.
  • The September Issue– In the age of reality entertainment, the devil that is Ana outclasses the competition by allowing the fat, the short, and the not-so-perfect rest of the public a rare look into her lair. This RJ Cutler documentary shows the editorial process involved in producing the September 2007 issue of Vogue, the magazine’s thickest yet at 700 pages, with insights from the magazine’s stylists and editors, fashion industry players, and the editrix herself. For full effect, I suggest watching The Devil Wears Prada right after viewing this film.
  • Somersault –  Watching The Great Raid, Terminator: Salvation and Avatar within the span of one week is easily a Sam Worthington film fest, although it was purely by coindicidence. Now Sommersault tops everything off, but I still have not a clue why this movie earned so much awards from the 2004 AFI Awards, including top honors for the lead roles. Like many serious coming-of-age films, Somersault explores repressed emotions and sexual discovery, with plenty of nudity and a dash of gender confusion. This film is summed up by Joe’s (Worthington) line that you don’t go around boinking everything that moves whenever you’re upset.
  • Avatar – The film everyone was excited about, I didn’t even see its trailer until I was lining up for tickets at IMAX. It’s high-tech and lush, with a solid moral and emotional center. One neither has to be  of the tree-hugger nor of the commie persuasion to enjoy James Cameron’s biggest film after Titanic, and it’s easy to guess where Cameron drew inspiration from in writing the story with its anti-war sentiments even if the film ironically peaks in a natives-vs.-high-tech soldiers skirmish over precious resources and land rights. Tickets cost twice as much as those for 2D, but it’s all worth it. You may get lost in Cameron’s 3D world, but nothing takes away from the idea that you don’t get military men (ex or otherwise) to solve your business problems, or that making a virtual warrior that gets a little sumth’n sumth’n out of a wheelchair-bound ex-soldier is not the best way to keep his loyalty (that, and the moral dilemma, of course). Sex sells, and virtual sex betrays. Love the “I see you” bit towards the end. ::sniffs::

I would have caught T4 (Sam Worthington/Marcus Wright stole the spotlight. Yay, short people of the world!), GI Joe (yuck! yuck! bad acting, cartoonish CGI and cheesy lines all over the place), and Transformers 2 (hack away some 45 minutes of useless scenes, and it would be nearly as decent as the first one) at the cinema on any given day, but my side projects paid for the rent and bought shoes.

I don’t care about the stuff that MMFF regurgitates every year. How many times does Mother Lilly have to remake Shake, Rattle and Roll (11th episode as of 2009) and Mano Po (6th), or for anyone to rehash Ang Panday (nth film and nth TV series)?  Vic Sotto and co. stopped making Enteng Kabisote in favor of Ang Girlfriend Kong Aswang (My Vampire Girlfriend), but nobody cares about the flick unless they watch Eat Bulaga everyday.  On the other hand, word has it that Manny Pacquiao’s Wapakman has CGI that harks back to the ’80s, while I Love You, Goodbye should have been titled I LoathYou, Just Die!, judging by Jessica Zafra’s funny review. I wish the Cinemalaya Film Fest was held in December instead.

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By the way, to keep those 3D glasses from slipping off your nose, you should rest them on your forehead. The 3D glass has this rubber lining on the bridge of its frame which keeps it properly in place. You’ll end up with a crease on your forehead like the ones that you get when you’ve fallen asleep on your desk or on your keyboard, but at least it solves the hassle of dealing with glasses that were designed for non-Pinoy facial features.