Monday, November 24, 2008

Hairspray

(review in Filipino)
(longer review in English at rvives.wordpress.com)

Ang haba ng hair!
Rebyu ni Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre November 11 2008

Direksiyon ni Bobby Garcia
Music & Lyrics Marc Shaiman, Lyrics Scott Wittman
Starring Michael de Mesa, Madel Ching
Palabas hanggang December 7 sa Star Theater, CCP Complex

Big, bright and beautiful ang local staging ng Atlantis Productions ng sikat na Broadway musical na Hairspray. Pero ang may pinakamahabang hair ay si Michael de Mesa na gumaganap na Edna Turnblad, ang big momma ng bida na si Tracy (Madel Ching).

Traditionally, ang role ni Edna ay ginagampanan ng lalaki mula pa sa original na pelikula ni John Waters noong 1988 hanggang maging musical ito sa Broadway noong 1998 at maging musical movie last year kung saan si John Travolta ang gumanap sa role ni Edna.

Set in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962, ang Hairspray ay tungkol sa mga pangarap ng malusog na teenager na si Tracy Turnblad na makasali sa paborito niyang teenage dance show sa TV sa kabila ng pagtutol ng marami dahil sa kaniyang timbang, una na rito ang mapagmataas na producer ng show na Velma Von Tussle (Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo) at kaniyang beauty-pageant daughter na Amber (Christine Allado).

Hindi rin nakatulong ang pakikipag-kaibigan niya kina Seaweed (Nyoy Volante) at Inez (Lee Viloria) at ilan pang Afro kids sa record store ni Motormouth Maybelle (Dulce) sa panahong hindi pa rin tanggap ng maraming Amerikano ang kanilang kulay. But of course, happy ending ang masiglang musical na nag-uumapaw ang sugar-coating sa saya.

Naturally fun ang musical dahil ang setting ay 1960’s; makulay ang set and costumes ng designer Gino Gonzales at masigla ang musika ng filharmonika sa baton ni Archie Castillo. Fabulous si Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo sa kaunting scenes ni Velma. Makapanindig-balahibo ang soulful na “I Know Where I’ve Been” ni Dulce, kung saan isinalaysay ni Motormouth Maybelle ang matagal na pakikibaka ng mga African Americans tungo sa equality, na lalong naging makabuluhan ngayon sa pagkapanalo ni Barack Obama bilang pangulo ng U.S.

Surprising si Nyoy as Seaweed at overall, mahusay naman ang baguhang si Madel Ching as Tracy kahit na minsa’y parang nauubusan siya ng hininga o kaya’y nahihirapang ibigkas nang mabilis ang mga mabibilis na kanta, lalu na sa ending na “You Can’s Stop the Beat”. Honorable mention sina Enchang Kaimo, Noel Rayos bilang Corny Collins at ang Dynamite girls.

Pero ang korona best performer ay kay de Mesa bilang hebigat na Edna, in particular sa waltz nila ni Wilbur (Leo Rialp) na “You’re Timeless To Me” kung saan pinapatunayan nitong mga veterans na hindi kailangan ng malaking costume at movements para ipakita ang stage presence at chemistry.

Sa kabuuan, isang masigla’t masayang staging ang Hairspray, na pwedeng early Christmas treat for the family. Pakipaliwanag na lang sa kids ang issue ng racism at kaunting sexual innuendos. Kung ganito kasimple ang mga issue sa buhay, pwedeng idaan na lang sa sayaw (at taas ng hair-do) ang mga problema gaya ng ginawa ni Tracy. Ang sabi nga ng isang shampoo brand, believe you can shine.

Quantum of Solace


Never say never
Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre November 5 2008

Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko

In Quantum of Solace, Agent 007 returns in a revenge mode, seeking the people who blackmailed Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) into betraying James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. Consider this a summation of the previous Bond film, but more importantly, Quantum of Solace gives James Bond true human form – with more emotion, more action, but never the same as before.

While interrogating Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), Bond (Craig) and M (Judi Dench) discover that the organization behind Vesper’s betrayal runs far more complex and powerful. White escapes with the aid of a double-agent who nearly kills M and Bond. MI6 traces the traitor’s bank account to Haiti, where Bond meets the mysterious Camille (Olga Kurylenko). Camille introduces Bond to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a billionaire philanthropist and member of a secret criminal organization known as Quantum. Greene and Quantum conspire to control the natural resources of various third-world nations by means of economic and political sabotage.

Risking life, limb and license, Bond allies with former Casino Royale contacts Mathis (Giancarlo Gianini) and CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) in a mission that brings him from Italy to Austria to Bolivia and tests the limits of his personal and professional relationships in the pursuit of truth.

In 2006, I complimented Casino Royale as a “great movie, a successful reboot of a franchise, like it was an edition of the Jason Bourne series,” (Ante-Bond, Inquirer Libre, November 2006.) Don’t expect more of the same Bond, if more of the same means the usual, clich├ęd Bond who looks perfect even after a fistfight. Expect a real movie, but not the usual Bond movie. Of all the James Bond films, this may be one of my favorites.

Credit director Marc Forster (Stranger than Fiction, Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) and the writers led by Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby) for continuing on this trend and giving Bond a fleshier character. This way, not only does QoS resolve Bond’s emotional turmoil in Casino Royale, producers can now take the franchise into any direction they want, given that Bond is now free of “personal issues”. No longer is James Bond a caricature of the ultimate male fantasy, James is now a real movie character.

Needless to say the action is packed and knuckle-baring, blood staining Bond’s dapper suits more than half the time. What’s also interesting is that QoS has a sly political significance, in the sense that (spoilers beware!) Quantum’s criminal plot to control natural resources, in particular fresh water under the barren soils of Bolivia, represents what may truly happen in the real world when the time comes that natural resources, particularly potable water, become scarce and nations protect their own interests. We already know petroleum oil will run out in a few decades. The next battle for supplies will be for drinking water, when the water tables under the earth run dry due to climate change. All of a sudden, Quantum of Solace becomes an important environmental movie, one that features a billionaire villain disguised as an environmentalist (note that in 2010).

There’s a reason why the James Bond series has survived 22 outings throughout the years and that is because it has always worked around its definition as a mere spy movie. Quantum of Solace shuts the door on Bond’s self-doubt that began in Casino Royale and becomes the movie when Bond fully understands and accepts his license to kill.