Saturday, February 6, 2010


What if God’s temper hits boiling point, decides to start-over, and sends His legion of angels to exterminate the human race?
This is the question posed by the film, Legion, directed by Scott Stewart. An advertently disturbing thought and also worth pondering on, how will mankind seek salvation when its creator opts to destroy His own creation? And another thought, on a more contemporary, or Yankee, remark, “how will it go down?”
Directed by Scott Stewart
Released: January 2010

Michael (Paul Bettany, The Da Vinci Code), chief archangel and field commander of God’s angelic battalion turns rebel due to a heavenly commission opposing his belief. As dark clouds form, apparently the biblical plagues, covering the world in unknown terror, mankind makes a last stand at a dingy diner, in the middle of nowhere. 
Shunning former allegiances, Michael, cuts his cool steel angel wings (did I mention cool?), and teams up with circumstantial ‘armed forces’, also known as, the defenders of human race; a relocating family made up of a troublesome daughter and her troubled parents, a poser posing as a criminal, and a modern Joseph and Mary couple, but without the immaculate conception. As heaven’s army strikes, Michael and the rest of his unenthusiastic, unconvinced, unlikely soldiers are tested; in strength, weakness and faith.
Without Michael at the forefront, God’s army is now lead by archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand, The Echo) who is bent on ensuring God’s will is imposed, even if it means a battle against his long-time, like an eternity long, friend, Michael. A fated showdown between Michael’s humane form with a stolen pistol for a weapon and Gabriel’s flashy high-tech mace, with multiple pointy-thingy-extension features, and cool steel angel wings with equally flashy battle gear, will decide what Michael is willing to give up to defend man. I somehow felt like I described an action figure, oh well.

Viewing Experience
I honestly fell in love with the movie’s concept, prompting me to persuade a few friends of mine to watch it almost as soon as it hit the cinemas. And yet a concept when applied may not always be as great as supposed. The film is not a waste of time and money, at the time, and it doesn’t have a lingering satisfaction either.
Scene transitions are fine, fluid at most, appropriate and aid the storyline—so is the mood and theme. The graphics and visual effects were adequate. I believe the director has achieved the right taste and temperament of creepiness he aimed for.
However, upon finishing the movie, I felt this feeling of discontent gnawing from the insides of my stomach—or maybe I was just hungry. In any case, some scenes scream of foreshadowing, or so we thought, but to the audience’s misfortune, were left unclosed. Certain aspects were also too cryptic, inclusive of portrayal and dialogue delivery.
Warning: Spoilers
A perfect example would be when Michael, before a final bout against Gabriel, tells Jeep (Lucas Black, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift) to ‘follow the instructions’. These instructions suddenly wrote itself like a tattoo snake around Jeep’s torso while driving. Though it would’ve been funny if Jeep tried to read the instructions while driving, there was almost no time since Gabriel caught up with him and Charlie(Adrianne Palicki, Supernatural). As their road fight begins and ends, the instructions felt like nothing more than cool Vincent-like tattoos.
Another major deal-breaker would be the insufficient explanation, or at least depiction, as to why did man’s fate rest upon the birth of a bastard child, which is similar to the Seventh Sign’s save-the-world-plot.

In conclusion
If you’re an avid film fan, which means you probably enjoy a fluid plot and well-patched storyline, then this is not for you. But if you enjoy action, a certain weight of creepiness and mystery in a film's overall aura, then you might add this to your movie wishlist. Considering the date of its release, I’d say it wasn’t a waste. This is because the film can still make you squirm, react and nod inside the cinema. However, now that there are other much-awaited movies coming out (i.e. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Clash of the Titans) you might want to reconsider.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


He had a home, but found shelter somewhere else.

A shelter is operationally defined as something that offers protection, its presence allows to declare a state of being protected from harm. It is also defined as the provision of basic needs for the homeless, the strays, for Zach’s (Trevor Wright) case—confusion.
Directed by Jonah Markowitz
Released: 2007
Best Feature, Best Actor plus more awards

An artist’s mind is as abstract as his confusion. Zach, a talented artist, gives up on his own life to bear the weight of family responsibility, even his own underlying desires. Ferrying his nephew as if he was his son, tolerating his father whose life purpose is to doze off, shouldering a burden he had no hand in, and resorting to street art, more popularly known as vandalism, as an outlet for his artistic flows.

In love with the ocean, Zach sees freedom on riding the waves, much like how he gets through one day to the next. Disturbing his superficially calm sea, is his bestfriend Gabe’s (Ross Thomas) brother Shaun (Brad Rowe), a writer who seeks refuge in their former home after a break-up. As things with Shaun grow smoothly and surprisingly comfortable, a suppressed passion is rejuvenated, Zach discovers a personal truth. A truth, too incomprehensible for his simple lifestyle, blurring the lines of what is right and wrong, what is family and foe, what is choice and chance.

Viewing Experience
Shelter (2007) is probably one of the best gay films released. Written and directed by Jonah Markowitz, the film has been recognized by various award-giving bodies. From the skateboard opening, to the shoreline landscape ending, scene-to-scene transition is admirable. Not to mention the emphasis on Zach’s character and his situation, making it seem so suffocating to live in such a way—stuck. 

Wright’s acting as a straight guy dosed in icy water with certain realities of gay life is nothing less than commendable. The toned down intimacy also aided in accentuating that love, knowing no gender, is a refuge, a home away from home. Though the storyline is mostly flawless, Zach’s father shouldn’t have been shunned with the rest of the film to further portrait a problematic family picture. In effect, it appears that Zach's  problems were limited to his nephew and his sister despite consistent mention of his old man. But the end here does not justify the means, the whole film experience remains intact.

A fleeting thought I just caught after watching this, a relationship with someone should feel like a shelter and not a prison, not a worrisome promiscuity, not a momentary revelry and certainly not a societal conformity. It should be something that affords not just the feeling of being protected, but actually being protected.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Eden

Sometimes we find ourselves wandering, leaving home to look for a home only to return to the place we left. Sometimes we find ourselves asking, asking a question when we already know the answer. And sometimes we find it hard to admit who we are, to the people whom we love the most, who knows better than anyone who we really are. These were the conflicts faced by Henry Hart, a successful artist in New York, who remains blind with the more important things in life. 

Directed by Thomas Bechuza
Released: 2000 by Studio Canal
Best American Independent Feature Film plus other awards

Viewing Experience
Big Eden is a gay film. What sets it apart from other gay flicks I’ve seen is the absence of cliché and scenes abundantly present in a queer reel. Carnal desire, flaming passion and utter display of skin, sweat and pumping actions, have become a basic commodity, or bread and butter, of homosexual onscreen portrayal. Try asking someone and mention a few queer titles and ask them what’s the first thing that comes to their mind, I bet it would either be the guy—or the scene.

But these are all absent in Big Eden. The film’s outstanding quality is its non-superficiality, giving more substance to the life as a third gender. It wasn’t also grand, the delivery and storyline is subtle. Evidently, the film was delivered parallel to the world we live in. That the weight of being gay is not with sensuality, but the hardships of multiple conflicts, the hiding, the secrecy, the control, and more importantly—the longing.
It is a recommendable watch. But just to give you a heads up, the characters aren’t like the hot guys that other gay indie films would usually have in their cast and used to sell the film. 

In Conclusion
Bottomline is, this movie isn’t marketed by sex, but by sensibility.


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