Wednesday, December 07, 2005


This I haven’t done in a long time…

Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (****)

If we truly base it on the different elements of a good film (or movie), Maximo is not exactly worthy of 4 stars. But for this particular one, I would like to go beyond my usual scrutiny of a good movie. Normally, you would hear me complain and/or praise about lighting, camera movement and continuity shots. But I will not dwell on those elements because those will not justify the 4 stars rating. I’ll explain a bit later.

First, Maximo is a good movie. To be technically correct, it’s not a good film because it doesn’t use film at all. The camera/s used to shoot the story is a digital camera making it a digital movie. If you’re a meticulous member of the audience, you probably noticed the grainy-pixelated shots somewhere in the middle of the movie. That’s one of the major differences between shooting a movie with a film and shooting with a digital video recorder (For a moviemaker however, the important thing about shooting a movie with a digital camera is that it costs way cheaper than if you shoot with film cameras). So far, no digital camera pixelation is equal to that of a film camera (both for still and moving cameras).

Anyway, back to my rating, Maximo for me is good movie because of a number of reasons. One, the story is simple. Despite the many other issues/realities it presented, it had a clear focus. Sure there was the issue of poverty - of how hard it is to live in the slum area, the issue of stealing – of thieves, and the issue of corruption and of “iskalawags.” They were there as part of the reality surrounding Maxi’s life but it does not forget that the “star/focus” is Maxi and her “pagdadalaga.”

The movie is honest. The lines were not pretentious. They were the very normal/usual in everyday Filipino lives lines. It presented a number of realities just as it is, without any major judgments thus it didn’t become your usual preachy movie. It wasn’t your hardsell typical films that would have actors screaming about morality or ethics, or of life lessons. The honesty and simplicity of the movie had a stronger impact on the audience because rather than just bombarding them with the “supposed answers” to all of their problems, it just aggressively invited them to think of the answers themselves.

Even the issue of the homosexuality was well expressed by the well-written script. The movie did not send the message of tolerance or of discrimination. Ang galing! It was about a “nagdadalagang – bading” but for some reason, at the end of the movie, the viewer would feel that it was about a “nagdadalaga o nagbibinatang (tumatandang) tao or nagsisimulang umibig na tao.”

I guess because it was a low-budget indie movie, we can forgive most of the major lighting problems. Afterall, movie lights are not exactly cheap. What I cannot forgive however are some of the camera movements. For one, the simple shooting while walking. One can practice doing the huge steps and arms first while taking the shot of walking characters so the camera doesn’t bounce. I felt dizzy very early in the movie because of those shots. Two, the drama shot of Maxi’s family when his dad found out that it was one of his brothers who committed the recent murder case. I believe it was supposed to be one of the most dramatic points in the movie. But did we see facial expressions, tears, body movements, etc.? No, because the handheld camera wasn’t able to follow the faces of the characters, instead what we saw was one or 2 of the actors’ clothing, that’s it. It would have been better if they just did a simple one camera on tripod set up, that way the audience could see the actors.

In general, Maximo Oliveros is a good movie. Of course I’m sure it would have been a better one if it had a major production outfit backing it up from the very start. The cinematography would have been improved and the marketing/advertising would have been bigger. Then again, it probably won’t be as honest and as genuine as it is now if it were controlled by a producer who is a businessman above all else.

UltraElectroMagneticJam (Music of the Eraserheads)

E – heads fans unite! Let us sing the songs of our high school/early college days.

I remember during Guru Errol’s birthday, we were obviously “bitin” with our videoke gimmick (we had to leave because most of us were very hungry already- kasama ako dun) that we sang our hearts out inside my sister’s car which had The Best of Eraserheads CD in its stereo. We sang Pare Ko, Sembreak and Toyang with much enthusiasm on the way back to LHS.

My sister bought the “Tribute to Eraserheads” CD produced by JAM 88.3. Basically it has E-heads songs sang by some of the top (and not so top) bands/singers in the country. Even before my sister bought the CD, I’ve already heard some of the songs as I usually listen to 88.3 when traveling, but having a copy of the CD and listening to other people do their own rendition of some of my all time favorite songs in one sitting is just way different.

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Listening to the CD made me feel nostalgic. There are a lot memories involved in listening to and singing eraserheads songs. There are the high school Saturday group study/project making cum gimmick; the HS cutting classes to watch Laser Discs (laser disc pa pinaka-cool nun..wahaha!); HS barkada; SIR elementary school tutorials; 1st Yr College Christmas Reach out in Sinuda Bukidnon; the Samahan Central Board office; overnight meetings and group studies; first row CA girls, breakfast at McDonald’s, etc.etc. Haay..

I guess the diversity of the lyrics and tune of their songs made Eraserheads so good. They had songs you can sing and jam with, they had angsty ones when you’re angry at the world, they had love songs (uuuyyy), they had nonsense/funny songs, and yes they had songs on prohibited drugs. They were good and listening to the CD made me question why “artistic differences” is such a big deal they had to disband? {Hehehe, As if I don’t have arguments with my bosses (past and present) when our ideas don’t meet.}

I agree with my sister Tetet that Southborder’s version of With a Smile is an enjoyable one. The R&B feel to it made it sound new and refreshing. It did help that With a Smile is also very positive. I love Brownman Revival, so their Maling Akala performance gets a passing mark from me. Rico J. Puno’s Ang Huling El Bimbo is a cute one too. In as much as I adore Francis M., I have a crush on him and I think he’s the only REAL Filipino Rapper (aside from Gio Alvarez, but his career never really flourished, hahaha), I still prefer the original version of Superproxy. Same goes for Magasin – it didn’t help that it was Paolo Santos who sang it. I sincerely believe Paolo Santos is a great guitar player, that's why he should just focus all his energies and time in even being better at this skill and leave the singing to those who really can.

The various artists version of Para sa Masa is a fitting last song to the album. What can I say, it’s dramatic and it works; Uplifting ending for an album that brings back so many memories and idealisms.

Writing this entry reminded me of my Old website where I used to do film reviews. I was actively updating it when we still had DSL at home and I was just simply studying my MA in UP. In short I had a lot of free time then. I visited it today and it made me laugh!! hahaha. If you have time, I invite you to visit it as well, it tells a lot about me. – warning, it's a bit baduy! And vain! hahaha

Thursday, December 01, 2005

beginning of... and 2brothers (or 3)


…A story? A Script? Insane Thoughts inside the LHS library? I’m not so Sure…
There is nothing that a shower cannot fix. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter; a shower will make you feel good. The shower will wash out all the dirt of the day – the dust that was consumed from commuting, the mud from the feet after walking along the sidestreets of Bankerohan, the sweat from his hands . . . the blood from the knife.

After one has killed a man, can the shower also wash away the guilt that continuously bothers the conscience? Can the water help rinse the heart which has been covered with severe hatred, fear, anxiety and pain? Will the soap be able to cleanse the soul?

“It will be all right . . . I will be all right.” Hector muttered as the water trickled down his shoulders.

Georgina Ismael, now known as the youngest lawyer to beat Attorney Andres Divinagracia, is still catching her breath after 30 minutes of resting. The last time she really jogged was in college and that was almost 7 years ago. What craziness got into her which convinced her to run tonight is not so sure to her.

She ran and the sweat made her feel good. Wet in her own perspiration, her thoughts ran across the new dress she bought for Pia’s party on Saturday, the new lawyer – John Reyes and his poor knowledge on tax, the case she just won 3 days ago, and the new Ombudsman whom she doubts will be as good and as ethical as the one who just resigned.
On the short drive home, she ended up thinking about Benjie and giving him a call. It has been 5 months after all, she will no longer look like a fool. It wasn’t going to be a desperate call; it will be a friendly hello. She approaches the telephone only to find beside it the post-it her sister, Nica, left some 4 months ago. “Whatever you do, do not call him! Call me instead or call mom, she would like to hear your story. He doesn’t deserve a gorgeous girl like you!” – it read.
A bath or a shower, that’s what Georgina needs. When she and her sister would fight her mother would suggest a warm bath or a cold shower first. “There is nothing a warm bath or a cold shower cannot resolve.”
Before turning on the shower, Georgina begins to think about the other cases she has to attend to now that the tax evasion of Former Congressman Alyana is over. A shower, a bath.
If there is truly nothing that a warm bath or shower cannot resolve, then this country needs a hug bathroom(an enormous or even a 10x giant of a bathroom) for all its problems to take a bath into. She smiles.
(As I wrote this intro, I had Kuya Gil, Ate Mayette, Ate Pia and Ate Trina in mind. And so I invite them, Mga Ates at Kuya,guess sino kayo story?)
2Brothers (or 3)
Just a few pictures.
The first set are of Bro.Errol Nebrao,SJ's (or guru for me) "party." Since I couldn't celebrate my mom's birthday with her last Sunday, decided to just celebrate it with Errol. Initially these pictures will just be on 2 jesuit brothers, kaso I also have a picture of my dear Kuya Gil, so decided to include him as well - thus the "or 3."
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birthday boy just can't get enough. He checks out the list of songs while singing!
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finally guru decides to rest and smiles for the camera. here with Te Mayette and Te Pia
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with feelings at ugat talaga Kuya Gil?
The next set is for Bro.Jeff, who I actually am not very close to. Atleast not yet. But since he has found photography to be a helpful tool in developing his, and perhaps others', spirituality I thought of posting the following for him. Take a look at it yourself, it might just invite you to a deeper reflection and prayer as well.
This one I took while investigating on corruption in Paracelis, Mt.Province.
God sees, all the time. God looks after his creation, all the time!
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The last 3 I took one day after I visited the church of Gesu. The guard said, the new statue of Jesus that I noticed while I was inside the church, arrived just a day earlier. Bagong-bago.
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this is what Jesus is looking at
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sunset from Gesu, same day!