Notes on ‘Taklub’ (2015)

TAKLUB (2015)

Lou Veloso’s character in Brillante Mendoza’s film that’s been making waves in both local and international film circuits for almost over a year now is only a blithe example of how experience can get you a remarkable performance. Whether it’s to present how unimaginable a situation is for a small character as his ‘Mang Renato’ in Taklub or how his portrayal can manage to swim along the brilliance of Nora Aunor.

I still stand on what I wrote on Film Police. I still think that Lou Veloso shines more than Ms Aunor, although I admire how she stayed true to the character, without overpowering her co-stars Julio Diaz and Aaron Rivera and Mr. Veloso. There’s just something about the whole performance that at some point did not make me want to believe in what she was [selling] to me. She exudes that matriarchal empathy that the film needs as much as we need our mothers most when times are rough. There are several episodes of personal tragedies faced during Typhoon Haiyan which were featured in local dramas, and Taklub offers it in a grander scale.


In the recent light of Heneral Luna’s success, let this post be a reminder that Taklub was also screened to local cinemas on September 16th. It would be interesting if people went to watch this one too, then perhaps we can truly confirm that this will continue the change that Philippine Cinema needs.


A full-length review of the author is posted under Film Police Reviews. Click here to read more. Photos on this post are taken from the same review.

The Quaint Reimagination of ‘Mr Holmes’


MR. HOLMES opens to a soft, glowing view of the English countryside rather than the gloomy mood of Baker Street in London from where the popular detective resides.

The film is based on a novel by Mitch Cullin called ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ eighty-eight years after Sherlock’s final appearance in his maker Arthur Conan Doyle’s His Last Bow.

I have a problem with reimagined stories. The ones that are plucked out of the classics and placed in a different setting which could either put them in a far worse situation than they’re supposedly written, or perhaps the writer is trying to borrow a bit of success. After Bill Condon’s stint with the last two Twilight sagas — well, I’m a bit nervous as I even think of those two films.

HOWEVER, from what I’ve seen, there is good intention for Sherlock Holmes in this story.


Ian McKellen plays the 93 year old Sherlock. Unlike his other roles and the other 70 or more actors who played the literary detective, he looses his charm but the wit is just the same. Perhaps I’m allowed to say that he won the role just right. He permits himself to be just as vulnerable as his character is allowed to be — amidst the imagination and output that his maker, Arthur Conan Doyle, and his dearest friend Dr John Watson has created for fans, in here McKellen allows Sherlock to take himself away from the shadows of the two, hoping to recreate a name for his ‘own’, despite the old age.

The film stays true to Sherlock’s old self: he is a beekeeper during his retirement years, he no longer dons the hat and the pipe (although in the film he claims he detests smoking and that he rarely wears the hat) and proudly claims that it is logic that bounds him as a human, never imagination. Imagination was always Dr Watson, his famed sidekick, was best known for.

Now living in the post-Watson late 1940s era, Mr Holmes is retired, aging, and hoping to win back memories for an old case. He arrives from Japan and as the film bounces back and forth to the old case showing a woman whispering though never uttering a word, to memories of his visit in Japan in search of a plant that would help him regain the strengths of his memory.

He is accompanied by Mrs Munro and her son as he exiles himself with his bees. Laura Linney plays the housekeeper, trying to keep the pace with an accent, although they should’ve just let her be. The boy who plays her son, Milo Parker, wins every scene as he helps Mr Holmes with his bees and with the case.


As Mr Holmes finds out the true events of his last case, one that involves a Mr and Mrs Thomas Kelmot (played by Hattie Morahan and Patrick Kennedy) he too finds out the reason for meeting the Japanese adviser Matsuda Umezaki, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, which is far more than digging out war zones in search of a mysterious plant.

Mr Holmes unfolds like a true-blue mystery. The elusiveness that was once written about this character is gone, and all we have is a character who’s just as human as we are. Or perhaps that’s just me, getting tired of all these charismatic interpretations here and there. Holmes was never written to be charismatic. As the character says in the film “I have no time for imaginations.”


This review originally appears in Film Police, bylines by this blog’s author.

The 500 Film Challenge Year Four

Hi everyone! Due to the overwhelming support we’ve recieved for last year’s challenge, I am pleased to announce that this year’s challenge officially begins!

Here are the rules:

1. Watch a film.
2. List them and include a review, a critique, or at least share your ‘experience’ about the film. It doesn’t matter if you suck at writing, as long as you write what the film’s about, what it means to you.
3. Sign-up via this link.
4. Short films, docu or mockumentaries can be accepted into your entries. Unfortunately, anthologies are considered as a single film.
5. A rewatch of a film can be counted as a single entry per day. But kindly indicate the number of times you’ve seen the film.
6. Have fun! Don’t stress yourself if you haven’t been able to complete the challenge. If you do have any suggestions feel free to let me know. ;)

Film 66. Leo Carax's The Holy Motors

2014 in review


2014 was all about losses and wins. A number of things from a dear friend in Christopher Fajardo to a house I lived in for almost half my life, to pets and comedians and brilliant actors and actresses, to my ever failing ability to keep a proper time management to do the things I love.


This year was surely a year for valuable relationships. I made sure I had that in tact first.


Next year, I do hope to spend much more time at the movies and write about it more.

And yes, I think we do have a winner for the 500 film challenge. And don’t worry, it ain’t me. :)


This is me, featuring this year's favorite photo app.
This is me, featuring this year’s favorite photo app.


In case you’re interested, here’s the stats of my blog this year. Thank you!


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Today in Black and White


19 August 2014

To state that Chris Marker’s La Jetèe is an incredible piece of sci-fi film would be an understatement. In the span of 28 minutes, in what people of this generation (I’m looking at my boyfriend on this one) might call ‘slideshows’ The Jetty as aptly translated in English features photographs of every scene, narrated by a man in French about a person’s exploration in time travel, as well as how far a person can go for his love for another person and his country.

A boy notices a woman’s expression as she gasps at the sight of a man. Several years later the boy is a man and Paris is at a war. He is kidnapped and held hostage underground by scientists who plan to use him for their experiments, one of which is to test whether a person is capable of time-travel. The man is sent into a dream-like stage where he experiences rebirth, early memories of happiness and remorse appear. Until one day he meets a woman, one of whom he cannot remember where he met her. Day by day memories of where they meet and how appears.


Until finally he was able to visit the future and seek help to rebuild Paris. He is given a chance to fix it, but with this chance there are consequences. The film ends with him choosing what makes him happier, a selfless choice one should make to survive.

But what is it that we’re surviving from? A cynic might discuss.

Les Cousins (The Cousins)

13 June 2014

Dear Being Chris,

It’s Friday the 13th and I chanced upon Claude Chabrol’s Les Cousins. It says on the back that this is a love story. Well, sort of. About this provincial man going to Paris to study Law and live with his cousin and then he falls in love. The summary at the back’s quite vague so I’m giving it a chance. Plus its a film by Chabrol and you know how the French New Wave gets me all excited. By the way, that transition from Charles bedroom to Paul’s driving in Paris was cute.

Paul took him to the Latin Quarter, in a club called the Union. There his cousin introduces him to the locals while flirting with a girl named Martine. While he watches a game of bridge,walks in a girl whose smile can easily put a strain in your heartbeat. Her name is Florence. They get introduced and he lights her cigarette. But she leaves after seeing Vonvon in just a split second. Ah, there goes that momentous look as Charles comes after her. He finds her outside walking away with another man. He decides to go inside a bookstore and looks for a Balzac novel. The bookshop owner is delighted and lets him take Lost Illusions for free.

His cousin Paul looks charming even with the trimmed beard all over his chin and the sides of his mouth. He gathers some friends in their apartment for a little soirée. It’s early 60s France but he plays Mozart for the evening.

Charles reminds me of Montgomery Cliff. Florence appears in the scene a few moments later, she looks very pretty. He tells her “I’ve been waiting for you ever since, well, for a very long time.”

After Mozart, Paul puts Wagner on. Suddenly the lights go out, and in comes Paul with a soldier’s hat and a candlestick holder filled with candles. He recites a poem which ends as Charles and Florence kiss. The record scratches as Philippe, one of Paul’s friends makes a scene.


Charles and Florence flee, as they hide behind a skinny tree they kiss. It was quite romantic. I love it when a man in a film becomes completely bashful of himself and thinks he says stupid things or if he’s got a stupid face. He confirms this with Florence and like this manic-pixie girl she’s becoming she tells him flat out that she thinks he’s got a lovely voice. She begs him to recite her a poem, but instead he tells her “I’d rather think it for you and then you tell me if it’s good”, and they just stare at each other for a while. He confesses he loves her but worries about the guy he saw her with. She tells him he’s just a friend, but he tells her he’s not all about “just friends”. He asks her out for a quick drive but this fancy meet-cute gets cut short after Paul ends the party and drives Florence along with another woman. He ends up in a different car with thoughts in his mind about his feelings.

Is Paul in love with Florence? But there’s something strange about Florence too.

Charles asks Florence to meet after class but she forgets the time and ends up talking to Paul and his hustler of a friend Clovis. He convinces her that wanting him for herself would be selfish. “You are meant for caressing, not for feelings” he tells her. It appears that Florence has had a reputation of sleeping with many of Paul’s friends. She reconsiders an offer to sway her feelings towards Paul instead. Clovis convinces her that having sex with Paul would be a better way to forget her feelings with Charles and in a way she won’t become a distraction to Charles studies. And as we know it, they head over to the bedroom.

As awkward as it sounds, this becomes both heartbreaking and motivating for Charles to move on and study further.

Juliette Mayniel and Jean-Claude Brialy
The stunning Juliette Mayniel as Florence

Paul passes the exam as he predicted without even taking the time to read his notes. Not only did he get the girl, he gets to prove he’s far more better than Charles. Unfortunately for Charles, he lost the girl and his chances of getting through with life as that violent ending occurs.

"We were happy, us three" Juliette Mayniel, Jean Claude Brialy and Gèrard Blain
A longing exists between Florence and Charles
Charles' innocence has been broken after a recent discovery

Paul’s thrill-seeking life may not have been used to the kind of honesty Charles was about to afflict him, but I guess in a way it was better that Charles had died that way rather than be filled with more unfortunate events by means of killing Paul. It saddened me though that his love for Florence had to be ruined that early. It was selfish for Paul to think that the two did not deserve the kind of relationship they would have if they were to become a couple.

Well, I enjoyed that drama Chris. The close-ups on these three main characters were stunning. Also, that bit when Paul was waking up his Italian-Jewish friend Marc had a close up and said, “You scared me Paul.” That was clever.vIt’s one of the most memorable lines one could ever say in a black and white French New Wave film like this.

From one half of your beloved Kinoc twins,

Love in the Modern World

200_sJoaquin Phoenix, "Her"
#17 Her (2013)
3 February 2014
Love is an inevitable thing that mankind cannot ever withstand. Love is an intense emotion that can cross boundaries. This is accurate in Spike Jonze’s 2013 sci-fi romantic drama comedy about a man in a not-so distant future falling in love with his Operating System.
Exactly how complicated is it to love and be loved? How does technology affect our daily lives in this non-distant future? How important is it to care about the differences between two people? How do you describe your relationship with your mother? How do you share your life with somebody? What’s it like to be … alive?
These are just a few of the questions we get to encounter with “Her”. Written and directed by Spike Jonze who came up with the idea when he read an article about how instant messaging could be upgraded with artificial intelligence.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombley is sensitive, calm, but immensely lonely. He works as an online letter writer — for people who couldn’t write letters for their loved ones. We see snipets of a lost love, though not immediately explained until we meet his new operating system. The OS1 is a hyper-rationalized artificial intelligence programmed to adapt to change and to evolve faster than any non man-made race. He chooses a woman voice for his operating system, since he’s recently been separated from his wife, played by Rooney Mara. Her name is Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johannsen (who never meets Joaquin Phoenix during production of the film, as she states in her interview with David Letterman). Her voice has this raspy quality that would probably sound appealing at night and sweetly assertive by day. She checks his emails, and works like his personal planner. Immediately “they” form a bond over feelings he tries to explain to her versus facts she’s gathered online.
It was exciting to see how sparks flew between Samantha and Theodore. It was immediate, intense, fun, exciting, and quite overwhelming. Overwhelming in a sense that I could never imagine how one could love someone so different from themselves. Different in a sense that one could never imagine possible. At this time and age we’d never deny that there would be a possibility but that’s not what this film centers on, which is great. I liked the subtleties of how modernity has changed in terms of what they’d wear (in this film, they wear really, really comfortable clothes), what things are most important, which ones to prioritize, etc. Everyone just had control on everything at the tip of their hands. They could just easily tap on walls to open doors, on table tops to control the temperature of their food. I liked that when there was a moment when Theodore could not find Samantha, a metaphor on how one cannot control the other, not one tap on his earphone could just bring her back.
Conflicts arise when Theodore realizes the differences between him and his girlfriend. Like most relationships, when we feel the same way we are oftentimes advised not to care about the differences. But what happens when the differences go as far as physical to metaphysical? What’s real and not real depends on the two people concerned. Theodore is able to address how he is aware of the differences that may put consequences towards his love for Samantha, being the hyper-rational system that she is programmed, she begins to feel confused with this sudden conflict that she is beginning to understand.
Although they resolve their differences by accepting each other, reality comes to Theodore in a far more bigger weight than what his past experiences has brought to him.
I was definitely moved. Love is a broad subject that I can’t really put a finger on. My favorite scenes, I’d probably just keep those to myself. Sharing your life with somebody, as discussed in the film, can be one of the greatest human experiences one definitely should not miss out on. I mean, I’ve never been too much personal on my posts here but at the moment I am happily in love. I love him. I didn’t feel as madly hurtful as before although the last scenes of a film would actually leave me broken or jaded. What I took away from this is that although we choose to find someone for ourselves, the more advanced our technology get, the more connected we are not just with one person but with a community or human nature in itself.
Here’s a short documentary of this film called ‘Love in the Modern World’.

#1: Bridget Jones Diary 2: The Edge of Reason

Film Title: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

1 January 2014

I’ve never seen this in full and so on New Year’s day, just as I was thinking that my year was going to start in a wreck, I managed to find this on HBO.
This one’s not a hard one to find, but in it’s simple plot and witty dialogue about a thirty-something former Singleton being totally overwhelmed by couplehood, I find my self elated. I can actually relate to her character even when she was a singleton and I was no longer one.

Bridget Jones 2 begins on New Years day, when everyone is invited to her aunt’s Turkey buffet and today she finds herself in appropriate clothing: still in a knitted sweater that looks cheesy but doesn’t entirely make her feel alone since it’s the same knitted sweater that was knitted by her hopeful future mother-in-law. And her boyfriend, the dashing Mr Darcy is also wearing one.

She’s still committed to the same things: to snog, to quit smoking, and to have a better career. To watch this film makes me want to do things: to quit smoking, to snog whenever I want and I can with the one I love, and to get a better career.

We still find her entangled with the same old bastard issues with Daniel Cleaver, but here we find a new issue when she finds herself jealous with Mr Darcy’s new colleague: the beautiful Jacinda Barrett.

Its fun to watch. Isn’t too bad. Directed by Beeban Kidron, screenplay by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral and all those other great British romcoms), Andrew Davies (Sense and Sensibility) and Adam Brooks (Wimbledon).

The 500 Film Challenge, Year 3


I am trying to be assertive and to assert myself this year, I will not apologize to anyone.

I was kidding. Although being assertive doesn’t sound that bad for me either.
I know, I know every year not only do I launch the challenge in a more gregarious way than the year before, and at the same time I always owe you (whoever you are reading this now) an apology for not keeping up with the Movie Experiences. I will do my best to post them here.

If you’re interested, sign up here:

The 500 Film Challenge Year 3

The challenge is simple: watch 500 films for a year, document the film experiences through a blog or through whatever creative way you can express yourself. Make sure to register on the link above so I can keep track of this year’s contenders.

2013 was indeed a great year for box office firsts like Gravity (Cuaron) where CGI was accepted by many since it was backed up by a great story. This too was a great year for Filipino films. It was ended by a controversial fit against My Little Bossings, a film created only for the purpose of profit. This was met by critics and non-critics alike and for once, the number of “fanboys/girls” went into a confusion for seeing something they always seen every year. The MMFF was, to me, a success. I have never seen local theatres be jam-packed with not just kids but adults who were audiences to not action films like Boy Golden, and for the first time we found a fantasy-ish film that made sense and made us laugh hard like Kimmy Dora 3.

And so this year, I am excited to watch whatever our budding filmmakers (whether locally or foreign) have in store for us. I’ve already begun my list for this year’s challenge. As for last year’s results, I’ll keep you posted on how mine and the other contenders made it.
Whether you’re a Cinephile or not, it doesn’t really need to be a lengthy review. You’re welcome to join.

Here’s to yet another year of wonderful movies.


I can remember when I was younger when my dad had told me about JFK’s assasination. Equipped with a strong imagination when I was a kid as I read him on our one and only Encyclopedia, my dad had told me how he made this impact not only to the American people but to the whole world.

To quote a line on this current film about the assassination of JFK, “My brother just killed the most important man on the entire world.” 

My boyfriend and I decided to watch this over that film that I still heavily feels has ripped off a their story from a Japanese manga about the youth’s hunger for kill. I saw the trailer for this several days ago and I had interest in what POV it may provide in that long time conspiracy about the assassination of JFK.


A friend of mine from the office told me that the reason behind JFK’s death was due to the Illuminati. Dad tells me that the CIA is behind his death. I too have the same feeling, but for whatever reason it may be, this film will definitely give you a little insight on what happened from the time he was assassinated, to Harvey Lee Oswald’s arrest and his death a day after, and the two’s funeral on the fourth day.


Upon JFK’s arrival in Dallas, we find people in offices, in the streets, in shopping markets getting excited to find the young President. I guess real shots of his descent from the airplane were used in the film but we will never see the face of the man who acts as JFK. Dr. Charles ‘Jim’Carrico, played by Zac Efron is a charming representation of the doctor who first examines the late president. He later looses his coolness when he realizes who he’s about to operate on. This film also stars Paul Giamatti who plays Abraham Zapruder, a textile man who shot the footage of JFK’s assassination from 30 yards away through his 8 mm Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD.


Another notable performance in this film comes from James Badge Dale who plays as Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother, Robert. Within less than 24 hours of the late president’s assassination, he learns that his brother has been accused of killing the president. Finding a different perspective in the story, Dale portrays a character who represents the people infuriated with this person who doesn’t seem to have a soul in killing the nation’s beloved president, and at the same time he tries best to remember that Lee Harvey Oswald is still family. Another point of views come in to play, such as FBI Agent James Hosty, played by Ron Livingston who was investigating Lee Harvey Oswald upon Oswald’s return to the US in 1962. Billy Bob Thornton plays Agent Forrest Sorrels of the Secret Service who was assigned to escort the president for his Dallas trip.

Nobody could have played the role of Mrs Marguerite Oswald than Jacki Weaver who’s high pitched voice has indignantly protested that her son Lee Harvey was working under orders of the US government.

This film is based on the book Four Days in November: Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi, written and directed by Paul Landessman who writes the script with sublime intensity. This is a delight for conspiracy theorists because although it doesn’t clearly depict who is behind the assassination, the film feels accurate in depicting the events that took place in those four days.

Gripping, thrilling, and entertaining. Though it feels like it was a written novel, to think of it being based on a larger true story makes it even more interesting for a rewatch.