18 05 2010

Pleasantville's storyline, cinematography, themes comes together brilliantly

Pleasantville (1998) came out when I was still in High School.  It was written, directed, and produced by Gary Ross and starred Tobey Maguire, Reese Weatherspoon, and William H. Macy.

The film is possibly my favorite movie from the 90’s.  The sharp themes here critique contemporary culture and history in the mainstream and portrays the ridiculous behavior that can arise from our own fears.

I’m no Tobey Maguire or Reese Weatherspoon but Gary Ross did a fabulous job with weaving the storyline and getting the most out of his actors.

Old vs New

The constant theme that runs through this movie is change- the old, the familiar-that which we are comfortable with is shown in black and white while change and adjustment is shown in color.

Old ideas and traditions sometimes has to be broken – Women depicted in the American past were shown as just housewives responsible for  cooking and greeting guests, new ideas were considered dangerous, and, in the extreme case, books were burned or laws were created to stop the spread of new ideas.  In history, art was used as a weapon to challenge the status quo.


The reference in the courtroom, showed the colors sitting on top which mimics the treatment of African Americans in America during the jim crow days.  The rationale behind the laws which mandates the segregation is based on fear of difference and fear of the unknown.  In American society, this fear was manipulated by the landowners to portray African Americans as slaves and hypersexualized beasts you would want your daughters to be near.  However, landowners frequently raped their slaves or servants.

The Bible

Perhaps one of my favorite scene is when Tobey Maguire’s character receives an apple from his date while on a picnic near the lake.  This is the exact reference to the Garden of Eden except no one is corrupting anyone although the film constantly refers to the old thinking that introducing new concepts and ideas is a form of corruption, a disease that must be dealt with.  Contemporary society, we can still see the manifestation of this craze, that the notion of evolution is beyond belief while the notion of god is a constant reality not to be challenged.

I can’t stand bad movies-a waste of 2 hours of my life.  Pleasantville on the otherhand, is a movie I recommend to those who never seen it.


Confessions of a Comic-holic

8 05 2010

Now that election season is wrapping up in the Philippines and who knows the mayhem that can spring out the chaos of the AES (Automated Election Systems) I can take a few short breaths.

When Iron Man II did well in the box office ticket sales, Marvel franchise breathe a little easier. The Marvel team will try to transform their superhero solo movie pieces into a larger puzzle that all comes together.  The Avengers is set to be released in May 4th, 2012.

With the recent success of most comic book or Sci-Fi made movies (X-Men, Spider Man, Hulk, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, District 9, The Matrix to name a few), 2011 and 2012 might continue that trend:

June 29th, Star Trek Sequel (untitled) but the script writers are already saying the plot will be centered around the villain just like in Wrath of Khan.  Anyone who has seen Wrath will welcome this as good news. By the way, Star Trek, a post modern imagination of society without capitalism-the social norms are to accept diversity (Roddenbery did a great job creating Star Trek before audience were ready to accept it:  Star Trek, although only lasting 3 seasons was immortalized with Sci-Fi fans, peace lovers, and dreamers.

July 20th also includes Nolan’s untitled Batman III.  Alright Bale, you got a 3rd chance to make your batman voice better-you can’t blame it on a chunky suit as they slimmed down your outfit in Dark Knight.  Nolan’s Batman series has been my favorite out of the Batman Franchise despite Nolan’s voice.

July 3rd, Spider Man Reboot (untitled) New cast and director:  I was tired of Kirsten Dunst playing Mary Jane.  The film will be directed by Mark Webb of 500 days of Summer.  John Malkovich was part of the team on board for Spider Man 4 before the project was scrapped in favor of rebooting the Spider Man franchise.  The new Spider Man will display a younger Peter Parker in Highschool.

Speaking of a younger Peter Parker, Marvel has also decided to feature X-Men 4 as the prequel to the original trilogy.  The release date is slated for June 3rd, 2011 with the title X-Men: First Class directed by Matthew Vaugh. Also released in 2011, is the Green Lantern on June 17th directed by Martin Campbell.  Speaking of the Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds, who is casted as the Green Lantern and casted as Deadpool in Wolerine: Origins, is the husband of Scarlett Johansson. Johansson, who starred as the Black Widow in Iron Man II, is open to make a spin-off, do another Iron Man movie, or have a role in the Avengers. Gwyneth Paltrow on the otherhand, can’t see herself in the Avengers or Iron Man III, if all she does is gets frustrated at Tony Stark.  She envisions Pepper Potts to have a larger in Tony’s world besides pressing his suits-rather, she prefers to kick some butt.  We’ll see if this is the last we see of Paltrow.  Last for 2011 is Captain America: The First Avenger directed by Joss Whedon.  The Villain will include the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and Zola played (Toby Jones).

But I digress, going back to movies being released in 2012 that I wouldn’t want to watch: Men in Black III in 3D, Super Man Reboot Untitled to be released in December, and G.I. JOE: Revenge of Cobra.  The 3 movies here seem to just waste time and space in the effort to make more money. Too bad they didn’t put the hatchet on G.I. Joe and rebooted the package all together. I could be wrong though, Edward Norton’s Hulk proved me wrong after Marvel committed to improving its script and marketing.

Spoiler ALERT

What will the direction of Sci-Fi movies be like in 2011 and 2012 be like for Comic Book lovers, well hopefully not like how the COMELEC (Commission on Election) handles the AES (Automated Election System) in the Philippines.  The COMELEC decides to solve its problems with prayers while disregarding the real problems – they totally screwed that one up.  Too bad there is no REBOOT for this election. If outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) still needs a job, I’m sure they can push over Hugo Weaving in favor of GMA as the Red Skull.  Her deadly ability to dodge and maneuver her way into power is uncanny.  Her gross detest to human rights is on the same podium as that of Hitler or the Red Skull.  Whoever replaces her know that we seen a couple of bad Batman Movies already (see Batman Forever and Batman and Robin) we’ll demand our Batman Begins and Batman: the Dark Knight.

One thing I love about most superheroes is that they go out of their way to protect and serve the people.  Often times, those of us who can do something to defend the weak, change the current system, act on brotherly love – fail to do so.  Oh, and one last thing, as much as I love super hero movies:  in reality, the people are the heroes, the makers and shakers of history we can’t rely on just one person or group to change things, sorry Obama.

Red Cliff 2 & China: A Century of Revolution

3 07 2009

Two Films you should check out if you have nothing better to do; Red Cliff 2, the almost typical Chinese Sword action movie with a brilliant strategies and tactics that spices up the plot and China: A Century of Revolution, a documentary that examines both parties in the historic fight to unite the country.

Red Cliff

Red Cliff

Red Cliff 2

This bad ass film takes place in feudal China when Warlords were running the land before it was united as one  China.  This was the period known as “Romance of the 3 kingdoms”.  This film does exactly that: romanticizes the Martial Arts, Lords, and Confucious ideas.  There is one point in the film that semi-challenges the feudal role of women.  However, if you like action movies with smart strategy and tactics, this is a film for you.

China: A Century of Revolution
China: A Century of Revolution

China, A Century in Revolution

This is a very strong documentary that takes a look at both sides (The Bourgeois and the Red Army) and how their strategy for China affected the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens.  There are special rare film that makes this documentary so special and essential for those who are still trying to understand the history of China.