Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Vampire, The Crooks and the Boardgame

Last week, I was able to watch three films consecutively. I was able to watch the Underworld: Evolution, the sequel to Underworld, the vampire film last Friday. Then on Saturday, I was able to watch the Tagalog indie film "Big Time". And finally, along with my nephews I was able to watch a film that my nephew described as "from the makers of Jumanji Zathura: A Space Adventure".


The sequel to Underworld nearly breaches the suspension of disbelief agreement between thee filmgoers and the filmmakers. The sequel start where the old movie left except now instead of a generic Western City, with a sub-population of Vampires and Lycanthropes tearing each under in covert-war that has spanned the centuries, our protagonists find themselves travelling in an unspecified Eastern European country. Our protagonists, Selene still clad in leather body suit and Michael Corbin - vampire-werewolf hybrid, can be seen struggling against vampires, uncovering old plots and generally trying to survive in this movie and have a love scene, which accordingly cut for the local viewing. The movie is composed of fights, flashbacks, meetings with characters placed there to aid protagonists and explain the story. This leads to the final scenes of the movie where Selene and Michael face their antagonists. This is a film for vampire film lovers and fantasy-action lovers. The bloodline on this film is thinner than its predecessor, a lesser image of its original.


The Tagalog indie film for this month. It has been heavily marked across the Internet, at least Filipino cineaste circles. The movie is exclusively shown at the cinemas of SM. Big Time is about how serendipity has brought four people together and how they try to extort money from a Philippine crime lord Michael De Mesa. The cast did a wonderful job of portraying the different characters in the movie. No complaints about the directing all the scenes were professionally done. Plus, the movie had a nice soundtrack from the group Itchy Worms. It was a good film, but not a spectacular and extremely funny film. And this is because it tried to be a lot of things, a Guy Ritchie film for one, but ended up none. First, a big time gangster involved in the protection racket? With his right-hand man collecting tong and using an expensive car? If it is used for comedy, it’s not funny at all. It would have been more credible if the crime lord was into jueteng, drugs or smuggling. Second, story seems to shift from tongue in cheek dark comedy to straight-out social commentary. It loses its bite as it shifts from one to the other. Not considering the story-development confusion, the movie is worthwhile watch; given the playful exchange between the characters and at times ironic situations they find themselves in. It is several degrees better than a lot of the films forced down the public's oesophagus during the Metro Manila Film Festival but not as good or funny as proclaimed. The film "Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros is still much better.


The film marketed as a space adventure film from the makers of Jumanji. I had certain apprehensions in watching a film from the creators of Jumanji. The Robin Williams film about a magical board game was an OK film, flash and nothing outstanding. The images I remember from the film were the stampeding jungle animals and the drums of doom. It was ok to watch once but not really for repeat viewings. Even the cartoon series spin-off was a ho-hum.

There were of course good reviews about it. And it seemed better than the sequel to Steve Martin's movie "Cheaper by the Dozen". So we went to watch.

As we sat down to watch the movie I was thinking of what to do afterwards. Adopting the "I have seen this before how thrilling" attitude then the film began. The movie was a pleasant surprise. Maybe because the flash and special effects was at a pleasant level. Or maybe because the actors were not acting over the top. Or maybe the story was consistent and had pleasant twists and turns to tell. As in all tales of journey or quests this movie had a moral tale to tell. And it told in a subtle way, opting to show it rather than state it out loud.

This movie maybe from the makers of Jumanji but it is a much better movie than Jumanji.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! nice blog entry about the newest movies. However, Ive read an article about Underworld saying that their sales dropped by 59% and I want to know why...could you pls give me an insight to this? Thanks in advance.

10:00 AM  
Blogger juned said...

Most probably inched out by the newest kids on the block - a set of new movies. Also it is not as fun watching it as the first one. The story plods onlike the proverbial vampire trying to escape the sunlight, alas it could not. It was not strong enough nor fast enough to save itself :)

10:16 AM  

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