Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Curse, An Anarchist and A Gay Romp

Two movies and one play—all in a weekend.

Saturday I watched Sukob, the star-and-director tandem of Kris Aquino and Chito Roño’s follow-up to the box-office hit, Feng Shui. Normally one would expect more from a second outing of a successful act. So yes, I will admit that I was expecting more from this movie.

Chito Roño proves he can set-up scares well, even if said scares are a trifle cliché. The script suffers from a big red herring that turns out to be an irrelevant distraction. A good amount of screen time is spent on a dead neighbor that, as it turns out, has nothing whatsoever to do with the main plot! The only reason why the neighbor was inserted in the movie was to explain the concept of the sukob sa kasal, sukob sa patay curse.

Kris Aquino’s acting was still terrible. From the first moment she enters the screen, you can see that she is A-C-T-I-N-G. And she still has that insipid expression of pain perennially plastered on her face, as if she has constant constipation. Because of her bad acting, I couldn’t understand why her character did what she did at the end of the movie. But I will agree with the filmmakers that Kris has got to be thrown out of a movie—the earlier in the script, the better.

When placed beside Kris’s histrionics, Claudine Barretto’s under-acting appears positively Streepian. Okay, okay, I exaggerate. Claudine comes off better here, even though she plays a character that she’s played a hundred times before in her soaps. That’s because of her decision to underplay the part. So despite her second-in-billing status, she emerges as the better actress.

Acting is the main strength behind Tanghalang Ateneo’s production of “Ang Aksidenteng Kamatayan ng Isang Anarkista”. The play is a comedy involving public officials and their attempt to cover up the death—which may or may not be accidental—of an anarchist in their custody. Ron Capinding essays the lead role, and he is one of the better actors of TA. In the role Ron proves he’s quite adept at comic timing; physically he also acquits himself, although he’s not as nimble as he used to be. But sadly his acting skills alone are not enough. While he acts up a storm, my main discomfort is that his character isn’t exactly clear. Is he really a crazy person, or someone acting crazy? And why does he like impersonating other people? What are his character’s motivations? Nothing in the script or in Ron’s acting suggest reasons why. Thus the whole second act suffers because Ron’s tour de force turns out to be all bluster but no meaning, so there’s no sympathy for his character. Plus the main joke becomes repetitive.

Speaking of tour de force, Nathan Lane does a show-stopping number in The Producers, the movie musical based on the stage musical based on the movie. In one terrific song-and-dance number in the movie’s last act, Nathan neatly summarizes in a musical medley the whole movie that preceded it. When the song ended, I sensed everyone in the theater was just dying to give him a standing ovation, but because we were only a few watching, everyone was embarrassed to start the clapping.

The movie musical suffers in the move from stage to screen—the stage-y set-up shows the director’s weakness in the filmic language. And some of the shtick that play well onstage only look staged when placed on the big screen. But the bigness of the musical numbers benefit from being blown up onscreen.

Other stand-outs include the hilariously gay duo of Roger DeBris and Carmen Ghia played by Gary Beach and Roger Bart respectively, who have some of the best lines (“If your intention was to shoot an arrow through my heart... Bull’s-eye!”) and moments in the movie; and Uma Thurman who acquits herself by not being afraid to make a fool of herself (too bad though that it was obvious she had a dance-double for some of the trickier choreography).

Watching a play onstage and onscreen made me want to act again. Sigh. Well, that day will come.

This sentence is confusing: "Acting is also the main strength behind Tanghalang Ateneo’s production of ...". Do you mean to say that acting was the main strength in "Sukob"? You were referring only to Claudine, I know, but the way it is phrased suggests the movie in general.

Sorry, couldn't help it. Now I best get back to work.
BONG: You are not number two, so you cannot point out corrections on the board! The sentence should not have the word "also" in it. I've corrected it already.
I saw SUKOB last weekend and I think it was cool, thanks to the excellent performance of CERTAIN actors and the editing.

Good to finally visit the McVie show again after you moved to Blogger, which is firewalled in my office.
Actually if one has a problem with accessing Blogger, one can go and watch The McVie Show Live! in LiveJournal; just click on http://mcvie.livejournal.com, then sit back and enjoy. :-)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?