Category: Movies and TV

Oi Balls! I want the ATP Tour Masters 1000 on TV

Because Balls Channel is not airing Cincinnati this year, post-game torrenting and Youtube highlights are all I rely on. Why don’t they show the tournament when my manok is doing well?

The last time I watched Cincy Open, Fed lost to Karlovic in fourth round and his top ranking. This year, there is something different in the air. Federer won the semifinals match vs. Andy Murray last night in straight sets 6-2, 7-6(8).
As Jessica Zafra blogged, of all our obsessions, Federer is the least disappointing. I agree. Bless his heart, may he get his third Cincy title this year.

Federer captured his 16th Masters Tour 1000 title in Cincinnati by serving breadstick to Novak Djokovic, 6-1, 7-5.

Wanna Watch: Legion

I don’t have high hopes for the quality of this film, but I’d like to see some action thriller flick that does not involve robots and inter-galactic battles for a change. Judging by the comments on Youtube, however, this film will incite inter-galactic flame wars among the religious, non-believers, and those who are only there to enjoy a good flick, dogma notwithstanding. Legion of course smells of Constantine (which I enjoyed watching in spite of Keanu Reeves) although it is set in some remote small-town with small-town folks fighting off legions of angels instead of half-breeds with only their guns and archangel Michael.

Moreover, I’d like to see a movie that has Paul Bettany in it as a main character. I think this guy is one of the most talented but very under-appreciated actors in Hollywood. I liked him as that doctor in Master and Commander, the tennis pro in Wimbledon (even enjoyed it!), and as the freaky albino Silas in The Da Vinci Code. However, his character in Legion will have worked better for me if the make-up team left his hair alone. In an attempt to make him edgy, they forgot that he was playing an angel for which his super white super blond looks should have been perfect.

Last Suffer Number Three

Doji, Joy, and I watched Last Supper No. 3 at the CCP last night. It was the only other film that I was really looking forward to, and was my first choice for viewing as early as last week, if only I was able to reserve tickets. As luck would have it, of course, we ended up with Dinig Sana Kita.

Last Supper‘s premise resembles that of what Bob Sutton, author of the popular book The No Asshole Rule, would probably describe as “a snake pit teeming with assholes,” and it effectively shows the dizzyingly, despicably corrupt Philippine justice system. If you have followed how landmark cases, such as the Bernard Madoff affair, get resolved in a matter of months, then you would despair at the sluggish pace that an estafa case around an advert prop worth less than $500 stretched to over two years and cost the defendant nearly double the amount because of lawyer appearance fees, bribes, and lost productive hours.

Wilson, an advertising production designer, is tasked to look for a Last Supper as a prop for a corned beef commercial that targets the C-market. Three Last Suppers fall on the shortlist, but only one is chosen. During shooting, the third Last Supper gets lost, and thus Wilson’s troubles start. He tries to pay off Gareth, the owner of the lost prop, but Gareth wants more for the loss, supposedly because of its sentimental value. Last Supper number three is a gift from his uncle and was bought in Saudi Arabia, of all places.

When they fail to settle the issue at the Barangay (village) level, Gareth tries to box Wilson, but gets punched in the face instead by Wilson’s friend and assistant. Thus, on top of estafa, he also has to deal with serious physical injury, and both cases will net him seven years in jail if proven guilty. At the city fiscal’s office, they agree to settle the case for P10,000, payable in installments for 90 days. Wilson settles everything within the agreed time frame, but just when he thinks his troubles are over, he receives a court order for failure to attend a hearing. It comes with an arrest warrant.

Last Supper is a solid film with a solid storyline, which is based on a true to life story. The way the filmmakers told Wilson’s tale is admirable, such that we see not only the corruption within the justice system, but also the suffering that its victims go through, while at the same time laughing at the foilies of both system and its players. Wilson’s only failure is in not knowing how it works, and what a lesson he learned by experience. I wonder if he had known it would cost him so much more in terms of lost work hours, lawyers’ fees, bribes, and the troubles of commuting between shooting locations and court hearings, he would have opted to give the money that Gareth and his mom asked. But Wilson has more than just innocence to spare him from serving jail time so survives to tell the tale – at Cinemalaya.

The story is real and it happens everyday to thousands of people figuring out the murky ways that legal problems are settled in this country. But Last Supper tells it so hilariously that you will feel sorry for Wilson while laughing at his experience. That’s how we all deal with our troubles and what keeps our sanity afloat: we deal with them one at a time, and then look back laughing because we have survived rich with wisdom at the experience. Acting is top-notch, having seasoned stage actors in lead roles, with Joey Paras as Wilson Nanawa. Maricel Soriano also makes a cameo appearance as a corrupt court assistant.

Rating: 5 Last Suppers. Catch it should it screen in movie theatres because you will miss a lot if you don’t.

Joy and I also watched Dinig Sana Kita again, just so we could be at the gala premiere held at the Main Theatre. I will say it for the nth time, the audience reception was unbelievable. DSK is one crowd-pleasing film, to say the least. After the screening, we opted not to have our photos taken with the lead actors, but got a couple with Robert Sena and the “rock stars,” who were apparently popular as well, though I have no clue on which bands they play. It’s been ages since I frequented rock gigs, so maybe I should see more bands again, to think that Saguijo is just a couple of blocks from my apartment.

Dinig Sana Kita

dinig sana kita I went to a Cinemalaya screening at the CCP for the first time last Sunday to watch this lovely, lovely movie Dinig Sana Kita. It’s a feel-good piece that can make you cry buckets. It’s not entirely original, as teenage issues are nothing new; it even harks back to Crazy/Beautiful. But brilliant filmmakers have a way of retelling stories in a way that makes you see and hear things differently.

In Dinig, troubled teenager Nina (Zoe Sandejas) meets the deaf Kiko (played by real-life deaf actor Romalito Mallari) when her parents send her to a deaf interaction camp in Baguio. The camp is organized by Dr. Dela Pena (Robert Sena) who specializes on special education for the Deaf, and with (for?) whom Kiko works as (sort of) an assistant. As most kilig stories go, they don’t hit it off right away; Nina is too rough for the mild-mannered Kiko. But as the camp is supposed to build understanding between the Deaf and those who can hear, they slowly learn to work through their differences and Nina becomes friends with Kiko and his pals.

While in Baguio, Nina is diagnosed with anxiety attacks which take roots from troubles at home, no thanks to a domineering father and an almost servile mother. To deal with her problems, she takes comfort in alcohol and loud music. On the other hand, Kiko also has issues of his own to deal with: he needs to find his biological parents while working at the school for the Deaf and pursuing his passion for dance. This is the part where one realizes that parents have a way of screwing up their kids’ lives. But kids are resilient and music, dance, friendship, and other aspects of their world that they could choose to supplement the families that they were born into serve as their anchors. By the time Sa Ugoy ng Duyan is cued, it’s impossible to remain unaffected by the almost true-to-life story of a child abandoned by his parents. While Nina shares half of the story, Dinig Sana Kita is largely Kiko’s tale.

I hate crying at the movies, but it’s that good at tugging at heartstrings. And yes, you have romance (it’s a love story, after all!), barkada gimmicks, LOL moments that bring the house down with laughter, and even brushes with thugs and authorities. It also sheds light on the tough choices that workers face as they opt to move abroad instead of serve their country. In this film’s example, if you think that there are very few good teachers left who are still serving in the country, then think of how much fewer special education teachers are still around.

Given the context within which its story developed, perhaps the best thing that I like about this film is that it does not preach. It doesn’t lecture about life’s miseries because we already know that life ain’t grand all the time anyway. What it does is show you reasons to listen, if not with your ears, then with your heart.

The last time I felt this good about a film was…hmm…Amelie, which I watched four times at the cinema. Dinig Sana Kita is a love story that is a lot like love: it makes you cry, makes you laugh, and at the end of the day makes you ask why you have allowed yourself to get so immersed in it.

The film is not perfect and there are technicalities that Mike Sandejas and co. could have dealt with better. However, Dinig Sana Kita is not exactly about film-making for film-making’s sake, but about telling a good story, and in that it does so effectively. I hope that there will be wider distribution for this film, which gives us all reason to hope that Filipino cinema has a future.

I’m watching the other festival entries this Saturday as well. Cinemalaya is running until Sunday, July 26, at the CCP, and Dinig Sana Kita‘s last screening is on Saturday, 6:15PM at the CCP Main Theatre.

UPDATE: You can catch the next screenings at the UP Film Institute on August 3.

And now, here be the photo-ops… 🙂

zoe sandejas, dinig sana kita
With pretty Zoe Sandejas, who also happens to be the director’s daughter.

Romalito Mallari, Dinig Sana Kita
With Rome Mallari. (Right, the high point of my movie-going experience is having my photo taken with the lead actor while looking like a loser. Where is a stylist when I need one?)

I managed to drag Doji to the CCP.

Ironically, this film is a family affair, off-cam, being directed by Mike Sandejas (the lead actress’ father) and co-written–I think–with Nina Sandejas. I believe the musical director’s name is Francis.

Update: Nina Sandejas wrote the theme song, while director Mike Sandejas wrote, directed and produced the film, according to Nina. Musical Director is Francis Reyes. Me wants DSK OST.


I was finally able to take some time off to relax and watch a couple of films last weekend. First off was Harry Potter 6, which I have to say is the best Potter film yet. I suppose it helped that it had been years since I read book 6, so I had forgotten a lot of details about the story, and it made for a better viewing experience. Director David Yates and screen writer Steven Kloves made a swell job of fusing comic relief in between flashbacks to the young life of Voldemort. As the last build-up to the final installment, The Half-Blood Prince should be the darkest yet in the Harry Potter saga since this is where Dumbledore dies in the first place and where Harry decides he has to finally deal with You-Know-Who. Of course you know that by now.

However, for good or bad, much of the middle of the film does not feel that way, thanks to the distraction that Harry’s schoolmates offer through mostly hilarious romantic exploits. Ron finally gets a girlfriend, and Hermione, who never runs out of admirers herself, one of whom is Gryffindor’s version of a pompous jock, gets all jealous. Harry finally falls in love with Ginny, although that kiss is terribly bitin. Did they cut off parts of that scene at the Room of Requirements? Still, the dark lord continues to wreak havoc with the help of his death eaters and deals a huge blow on the good guys with the help of an unexpected accomplice…or is he?