Archive for the ‘Cinema’ Category

Hermes Birkin, Louise Vitton, Lenovo, Mac Ipad, Pontiac, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Mercedes Benz, Lacoste are just some of the products with obvious subliminal advertising intent in having exposure in the Transformers 3 movie.  To some movie goers and Transformers the other product brands may not be well so obvious more than the popular car brands and models that transform into Autobots.

Movie and television show inserts are a recent marketing strategy. From a time, movie and television show producers are more concerned of the quality of film or shows they create. Although, they seek advertisement to help finance the production, they are also careful in hiding or smudging brands or logos of commercial products that may incidently be needed in the production design as props.

But the airtime, attention span, and interest of the audience for mediated advertisement must be diminishing as a resource, if not getting more valuable. Airtime is expensive, advertisments during the intermission or prior to the beginning of a movie don’t bring direct income to the film production, it is the movie house that benefits from this. The audience particularly young people have lesser attention span, and they would rather sleep during the intermission and just open their eyes when the movie is on. Movie goers go to the cinema to watch a film, not the advertisements, so they would instead go inside the movie house just in time for the movie.

The movie audience are prime target of advertisement. If they have been grown clever or have lesser attention span, advertisers got to be more agressive in their strategic decision to insert advertisements by flashing their brand logos and product names within the scenes of the movie. Cast Away is another vivid example of this strategy. That movie was like a Federal Express and Wilson film. Probably, the said strategy have signficant influence in the market consumption of those products and services. Hence, an increase in sale through increase of brand awareness.

The novel turned movie, The Devil Wears Prada, is another obvious illustration of this kind of advertising strategy, featuring of course Prada brand, other brands and even a coffee brand. One may argue, its nothing but incidental. Yet, the positioning of those brands in some frames or a scenes are obvious means of manipulating the audience subliminally through the power of visuals. A critical eye should be able to notice the panning of the camera and the transitions that puts those brands in focus.

Like in Transformers 3, the main actor is but wearing a simple white shirt, and prominent on that shirt is the Lacoste logo.  The camera is tilted up, the chest of the main actor is in the center of the frame, and slowly zooms in to the shirt’s logo. Lenovo had several exposures, that monitor in the boardroom’s table contrasts that of the table. The white backside of the monitor is so visible with the logo, and most of the time when this is shown, the camera is also tilted up. The same with the exposure of the Mac product, the camera is also tilted up.

With those camera techniques, the eyes of the audience are pushed to focus on the product, rather than the facial expression or actions of the actors. It utilizes blocking to keep the audience eyes glued on a certain object while their ears listen to the dialogue. More obvious of this subliminal advetising strategy, is when the product brand becomes part of the script. In Transformers 3, of the intelligence division, a woman is pictured to be so powerful, dominant, strong and confident. She has everything she “needs”, and all with her assistant – bags.

In the movie, when the chief needed something from her bag, the assistant asked which one. Then the assistant showed LV bag, and two other bags. The chief said “the Hermes Berkin”. One could guess which is the sponsor of the movie, or which brought more money for the said subliminal exposure. Competitors do not buy the idea of having their products placed before another, rarely this happens or not at all. With visual and audible exposures, Hermis must have pegged in alot of money and chose to place it with LV, which in either way creates an image that it is unlike LV to be preferred and trusted more by a powerful woman.

Ferrari, Mercedez Benz, Chevrolet and Pontiac are various car brands. They all appearead in the Transformers 3 movie. Only two were represented best, but one brand stood out from the rest. Chevrolet, with a lot of visual exposure and several memorable audible exposures. Bumbly bee, the young man’s friend is there throughout the movie. Pontiac was just but an old neon light. Mercedez Benz was attacked as unfriendly and hostile to women, mean, evil and expensive, with “Soundwave” becoming a snare and revealed as a Decepticon, costing 200,000 US$ which is said to be unworthy in relationships.

There must have been advertisement inserts in the earlier Transformer’s movie, specific to Chevrolet. But, this year’s sequel had the most obvious ones. Apparently, such ads distracted me from really focusing on the movie. On this note, it has worked strategically offensive to my interest of appreciating a movie, because it made me wonder on how much these brands pegged in on the production of the film. Sorry for me, that I get to be so critical of this manipulative act to exploit on the visual and aural perceptiveness of the audience, that in the end I was not so satisfied as I was in the earlier movies.

Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the god of thunder is the son of Odin, King of a peaceful realm named Asgard, lying somewhere out there in the cosmos.  Because of his arrogance, pride and vanity this warrior leader was cast out to Earth. But here, he learned of what is to be like a true hero. The story is Marvel Comic’s representation of the Norse mythology.

The story began in a time-space context that brings the audience to witness the ancient battle between Asgard and Bifrost.  Then the audience is moved to witness the banishing of Thor to Midgard (earth), after several scenes of how Thor who was supposed to be enthroned as King got impatiently dismayed to reignate an ancient war with Frost Giants, along with Loki (his Bifrost adopted brother), Sif and his Three Warrior friends.  

There was long time spent on Thor’s adaptation on Earth, and so in finding Mholjnir, his mighty hammer. When Thor was banished, Odin cursed the hammer to serve only the worthy to hold its powers. Not much of the fighting scenes were there. But it has were all Thoriffic, mighty and a real marvel. Thor’s romance with Jane (Natalie Portman) leaves the audience some wishful thought for them to be next time, and a question of how would that possible, when Thor destroyed the portal that connects his world to the other 8 realms.

Of course, as expected, Thor would get his hammer. Although this was not easy for him. Eventhough he still had physical strength as deity, at his first attempt while he demonstrated his strength over other men, he was not able to pull the hammer out. The hammer and all the powers bestowed on its holder came to Thor, at his death which resulted from risking his almost ‘mortal’ life to an “ironman” consumed everything in fire and crushing everthing just to get rid of Thor.

The villain is Loki, it was obvious from the very beginning. I guess this will be clear to those who have not even read the Norse myth or Marvel Comics. Simply, there are stereotypical representations that say so. While Thor was red-head, and galantly and regally clodded, the silent Loki had a black hair, donned with dark clothes. Loki was consistent throughout, even until they were man enough to face the reality of who will be taking after Odin’s throne. Loki had it all planned to delay the crowning of Thor, by conspiring with the Frost Giants.

The Frost giants were said to be actors in costumes, not computer generated. Asgard is wonderfully rendered digital masterpiece.  The effects were carefully mastered. The production design, the costume, lights and sounds were outstanding. There were funny moments too, such as the unexpected stupidity of the reckless, fearsome and mighty Thor. This presents a human side to the diety, likewise with his voracious appetite, his gentleness and etiquette in dealing with a woman.

This is a movie to watch. I saw it on traditional screen. But, I am watching it again on 3D. Its a movie for adults who wants to be a kid. Its a movie to watch to divert your attention from your daily work routine. Its a movie that kids 12 years and below will also love to watch. I’m sure of that because I watched my kins from several age group as I watched it. I would have to agree with other reviews of this film.

Perfume: “The Stroy of a Murderer“, is a 2007 movie based from a novel by Patrick Suskind, and directed by Tom Tykwer is a moving  representation of a world desensythized and aliented from the essences of life. It starred Ben Whishaw as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

Set in 18th-century France, the movie takes the audience at the time Jean-Baptiste was born of woman selling fish in a filthy, putrid and pungent market. He was thought to be dead from birth, but then he survived. Later on he was placed in an orphanage by the authorities, as his mother did not bother about him and just kept him there on a rubbish of rotting fish under the table of his mother’s fish stall.

When he grew up to be a teen-ager, he was sold to work in a tannery. Jean-Baptiste had a magnificent talent of capturing the scent around him, from afar he could smell the fragrance and store that in his memory. But he had no scent of his own. The first time he saw the world, he was captivated by the scent of an innocent woman. Obsessed by capturing that scent, he followed her.

Accidentally, in his effort to take that scent as his possession, the woman died in his arms. Then there was nothing to smell from her corpse. Finding a chance to work as an apprentice to reknowned perfume-maker, he learned the craft. He wanted the world to know him for his talent. So his passion brought him into capturing the scent of a woman’s innocence – through a series of murder, culminating to create a powerful potion, but ending on a tragedy of his own death.

The story’s central theme is capturing the essence of the world’s smells in the effort of creating a difference, a distinct fragrance that is paradise. But one can only do so much, and all the world needs of that scent is just little and not too much. There are many archetypes and metaphors used in the story.

With the scents in perfumes come memories of experiences and emotions kept in the recesses of time; and human desires that are stimulated by distinct scents. People collect perfumes, and perfume makers distill elements to capture the essences that would create scents. Those that we smell from perfumes vary from one person to another, one could be fragrantly ecstatic another could be ghastly putrid and obnoxious.

Within Jean-Baptiste’s character was strong urge to give his life meaning, but the world around him is desensythized to understand that passion. Hated, unloved, unnoticed, alienated from the rest of the world, he was driven to prove his worth. As he wanted to possess every smell in the world, he tried to learn as much as he could. His way was different though, because he wanted to possess the scent of people even if that will cost them their lives.

To Jean-Baptiste, life had no worth, all that matter to him was what he can sense by his smell. He had the talent and the gift to concoct the best fragrance in the world. What he really desired is to be fragrant to the world and acquire that invincible power to command love of mankind.

He had no scent, like stones he has no smell of his own. This relates to the fact that he is nobody to anyone, none existent. Because of that fear of his own oblivion it became his personal passion to recreate himself with a mission to find the 13th note in the chord of essential oils.

He understood the way to obtaining the essences of fragrant elements is only by their death, like how the death of 10 thousand fresh roses would make an ounce of essence of rose. He had no obsession of women or their scents, he was obsessed with himself to prove the world that he was exceptional. This is what the desensythized world made him to be, and this is his tragedy.

Every fragrance in the world is made of distinct notes from three sets of chords. These chords is composed of the head, the heart and the base. The head is what is immediately noticed, but the heart is its theme and the base is what is left in the trail of that fragrance. A fragrance is composed of notes from those three chords, their combination is needed, but they can’t have too much of everything. 

A desensythized world is a scent that loses its theme.  From the movie, it can be learned that to make the best perfume one needs experience, humilty and hardwork. In this it can be understood that one needs, to use his head, feel with their heart and stand on base that is firm and moral. These are what the world needs to be fragrant to everyone, that no perfume can ever have.

The Tourist is a romantic comedy-drama-thriller film, that tells of a love story between a rich and beautfiul widow and a tourist, she met by chance,  in romance and action to thrill the audience with some humor on the side. It stars Angelina Jolie (Elise)  and Johnny Depp (Frank) , directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck for SONY Pictures. Set in two romantic locations in Europe, the audience are taken to see a love-affair to remember from Paris to Venice. It is a feel good movie like a cheesy Italian pizza peppered with a surprising twist from a wild herb.

The story begins in Paris where Elise is being watched by international police. She recieves a letter from a man named Alexander Pearce, whom she had a romantic affair. Pearce, through the letter tells her to take a train to Venice and sit with a man who looks like him in built. She gets away with the police following her onto a train where she met Frank.

The Interpol and a group gangster is after Alex who stole 2.3 billion dollars from the gang leader. The police hunts Alex for tax evasion, while Shoume the gang leader wants him alive to retrieve his money. Elise, in her desire to be reunited with Alex, has to make things up that Frank is Alex to deceive both the gang and the Interpol.

At the later part of the movie, Elise fights her feelings for Frank, believing that Alex is still alive and is keeping watch on her. Once she was held by the gang in their love nest in Venice, she remains still in not telling the gang where the vault is. Her strengths is understood to be coming from her professional experience as an undercover agent, and of course in the belief that Alex will come to save her.

But there was no Pearce, only Frank who then revealed himself to be the same person after all. How was that? It was all about money. He had surgery, orthodontics, voice chip inserted etc. Elise was clueless about this until Frank opened the vault. The Interpol was clueless after all about the Pearce’s identity, their chief got the hint only when he recieved a 740 million pound pay to cash check . The same is the amount which Pearce hunted for. Then the two kept on their tour of Venice.

The movie is a remake of Anthony Zimmer, a 2005 French film with exactly the same plot, but was highly praised by critics even though it was not a box-office hit. Unlikely for the remake, the Tourist is highly criticized for its slow development and dumb action antics. But the movie had three nominations in the Golden Globe Award for best actor, best actress and best comedy picture.

I got to like the story and the setting of the movie, although it developed so slowly. But such slow pacing adds to the creation of classical nostalgia to go with the melancholia of a woman trying to appreciate the beauty of the location. She is a tourist, and tourists don’t go to a place just to rush on things. The chasings are somewhat funny, but a critical movie goer would find himself thinking of what’s going to happen next, but will remain clueless until the final part.

If the movie was not a remake, I would definitely appreciate the genious of the story. Critics would not also criticize it to be slow, if they had no reference for the actions of the original French film. Johnny Depp gave a justifyingly funny rendition of his character as Frank without the fierceness of Alex Pearce. Jolie was so damn gorgeous, sexy and glamorously elegant amidst the obvious aging signs.

Being small, growing up and becoming big are not a matter of physical size. One can be a big grown man, yet thinks too little about his self. Another could be so little but he may see his self too big. The Lilliputians would definitely find a giant a beast, and what could be more monstrous than the collosal pride and gargantuan anxiety of normal-sized men?

The man from the mailroom can see his self in the corporate world as nothing less important than the posts he delivers for his colleagues. In that giant world of business where competition is fierce, his value and self-esteem would be definitely a low blow.This definitely would hinder himself from enjoying the outside world and even finding a life-partner. Instead, he’ll satisfy himself with his own self-animated world where he is in control of everything, at the least.

From the classic work of Jonathan Swift in 1726, Gulliver’s travels have adapted and rendered in several medium, such as books and cartoon animation. I knew it from the earlier cartoons and the nursery book. I had to admit, that I too wished that I was as big as Gulliver and all the others were just Lilliputians.

This literary classic, is both a parody and satire of human nature. As I liked it when I was kid, the fantasy still works for me. But this time as a grown up, I understood it as it represents our human nature. That, while we can be restricted to grow because we think too small about our selves, we could find ourselves to be monstrous when are in that most advantageous position that we could feel too big.

The adaptation in this 2010 movie was a well-choice depiction of today’s busy world, where people don’t seem to matter anymore and to get up to that career leader, one has to be really really big, think big and come up with big ideas that would be so valuable to the world. Hence a mailroom boy could stay in that job for a decade without having to move up in the career ladder.

All is but work, work, work. The size of your contribution becomes parallel to your value as an individual or a member of the society. A lot is expected when you can deliver so much, and getting rid of you is easy when you seem frail and weak or just too small to be picked at. But reality bites, one so small can really get someone big falling down. Yet, when the little guy learned to dream big, and do something with that dream he can really make it big with other’s help of course.

The movie adaptation had a lot of humor in it. It wasn’t really a great laugh, but sure it’s nice to watch. Senior citizens, who happen to take advantage of their Monday 10peso movie privillege enjoyed it with laughter. On the technical side of it, I find that hollywood movies have almost perfected the visual effects and camera handling to create giants and Lilliputians. I say almost perfect because with the movie I still noticed some obvious editing shortcomings.

Gulliver was lost to himself, lost in the jungle of posts in his four-cornered mailroom world, and lost in that career driven corporation. To find himself, he needed to be more adventurous, which entails that he should be more open into social interaction and into communicating his ideas to other people.  A new employee who he hired as an apprentice, just proved him that while the latter got promoted the day after he was hired. He needed to explore the world, to step up and step out from whatever restricted himself.

So he was lost in an adventure, but later on found his self, found a life-partner, and found a new career path. If life were an an adventure we surely need to be heading to that adventure. We should really be journeying to get to where we want to go. Sometimes though we may not really find our self to where we wanted to go, but the surprise in that adventure is that things can turn around and all could end well. Fantasy? No, that’s one reality of life, that we don’t happen to recognize when we think that everything is determined for you already and there’s nothing else you can do about it.

Will you wear the Santa hat?

There is a Christmas Spirit in that big, fat, white-bearded, old man in red suit. The medieval saint who gave gifts have been a long standing icon resonant in every child and child once imagination. His travel at Christmas eve around the globe to answer every child’s Christmas wish is probably the grandest story that humanity has made.

Although I never thought of Santa as real, I knew his history from Saint Nicklaus or Saint Nicholai. But the story of that big fat old santa has developed in some great plots that he is personified second to the main character of Christmas. I could not believe Santa to be real, even when I was a child.

The stories I heard about him is that he would sneak through the chimney tops, and drop his gifts for every good child who places christmas stockings by the fire place. We didn’t have a fire place and so we didn’t have chimneys. But, yes I remember one time I put a stocking on our door panel, and only got candies on Christmas morning. Sadly, I didn’t get any Christmas wish answered  from Santa.

There have been lots of movies and animation films that highlighted Santa. Coming from somewhere in the North Pole, hidden beneath or behind those thick ice that men could not go, Santa is 365 days busy laboring with the elves to make gifts for those kids who have been good at all times. One Santa movie I really love and have seen it as an adult was Polar Express, which tried to make a kid cynical about Santa believe.

Tracking Santa has been a program of the North American Aerospace Defense Command for 55 years. This news from CBC really got my interest because it framed the news as if it was really real. I thought it was funny but it serves some purpose, to let the spirit of Christmas and that Santa story flourish through time. The group answers calls and inquiries about Santa’s whereabouts from kids.

In most movies Santa lives in a factory of toys . How I wish there are such kinds of factories in this capitalistic world. A factory that is driven by love and concern for children. A factory where every worker labors to create only the best for every child in the world. A factory which produces and distributes those produce free for everyone. That I think is mystifying with Santa, he has the spirit that this world does not have.

Santa Clause is an imaginary character lying beneath every human mind. While he persists in our human memory, he can be as real as what we think of him. Don’t you notice how businesses capitalizes on this iconic figure. We too can be Santa Clause for the children who need love and affection, and with some little things we can give them out of our genuine compassion and generosity we can grant them a little joy for Christmas.

For the Filipino kids, it must be really difficult to reconcile our thoughts of the idea of Santa, his reindeers, his sleigh etc. Thus, we have the song  “Sino si Santa Klaus?” Filipino kids receive presents from their Ninong and Ninong, Lolo and Lola aside from their Tatay and Nanay. The song is actually a question that was answered that Santa is someone who loves people. That is the Santa spirit.

We can track Santa, we know him, because he is part of our good human nature. We can all wear that Santa hat and spread love to this world that needs a lot of it.

Boring prequel to the put finality to an overstretched epic

This first part of the two-series ending of JK Rowlings Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows  was not so climactic after all and it did less of the presentation of Potter’s magical world to astound the audience. Instead it was dragging somehow and not so memorable. Moreso, it is no longer a movie for kids. For those who have followed the sequel, they will find this first final part as a mere prelude to the ultimate ending of the movie, a half-baked piece of what I expected to be an awesome pie.

So what happens in the Deathly Hallows? What is mushy and what is to be remembered?

The plot begins with the scene where the Ministry was taken over by Voldemort’s forces. Harry, Hermione and Ron went into a quest to obtain and destroy Voldemorts Horcruxes, after they have received the last will of Dumbledore. That lead them into a semi-adventure and little dramatic quest to recover the Sword of Griffendorf. Throughout the movie, it was a chase for Harry’s life and the Trios chase for Voldemort’s Horcruxes. The Trio were able to infiltrate the Ministry and so obtain the Slytherin Locket, then destroy it with the Sword of Griffendorf. They learned about the the tale of the Deathly Hallows, through Luna’s father, which Voldemort does not know anything about.  Along their quest, Ron got jealous, but later on he was enlightened. Symbolically Ron was able to overcome his malicious thoughts that there is something going on between Harry and Hermione.  He was instrumental for Harry to recover the Sword of Godric Griffendorf. While they were successful in destroying the Slytherin locket, they were captured and sent by some bandits to Voldemort’s place. They were imprisoned, but through Dobi’s help they were able to escape. But Dobi has to die. Voldemorte was able to get the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s dead body. This he thought Voldemort could use against Harry when they meet. There the movie ended with Voldemort waving the wand to a flashing light.

I can’t help but compare the previous Harry Potter Movies, 1-6, as they are all compact versions of each book. That each plot is complete, building up to a climax and making the audience anticipate for the upcoming movie. This is without spoiling their time watching each part. The previous movies have complete storylines and outbest each one by bringing the audience into thinking, wondering and appreciating the heroic development of the wizard in Harry and his friends. Previously, the audience would be moved to Harry’s adventure, and kids would be talking about how awesome Harry was.

Its a chasing movie that was not so cheesy

In this movie, much of the parts that teased me from its trailers are just not there. There was no confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. Probably, that will come in the battle of Hogwarts. I am not a Harry Potter fanatic, but I love movies and its enchantment. This one did not just appeal so enchanting to me and perhaps to the rest of the audience. When I learned this is the first of its ending, I wanted to see it. But no ending was there, just the near end.

I brought with me my nephews, niece and cousin. There are moments though that they would react to the wizardry in the movie, but the kids, those who are around 12 and below are not really paying attention. The movie seems to be dragging Harry’s quest to obtain Griffendorf’s sword. While we were inside the theater, the children watching at the back, were not so amazed after all. At the end of the movie, the audience was silently going out. Although the Robinson’s Cinema 1 has poor airconditioning, I noticed several have to stand and take a leak. I am assuming that one would need to leak when the movie house is cold. So this means to me, that the dragging movie was not able to hold the audience into thier seats. Furthermore, this seems to me that the movie is not something to talk about.

In their quest to find the Slytherin Locket

Very few were new and spellbinding to talk about from the movie. I personally liked the magical tent, my nephews liked Hermione’s bag that has almost everything they need. The multiplied Harry was also amusing, but the scene where several Harry were seen was so short. Maybe, much of it can be expected on the final final part. I also liked the lighted deer that guided Harry, his swollen face, the flushing portal to the Ministry of Magic and its elevators. I got a thrill from the snake eating up a woman on a table, with its mouth opening wide to fill the screen. I thought Harry would die under the bed of ice because the Slytherin locket was allergic to the Sword of Griffendorf, which was there under a lake of ice.  I appreciated the way it combined shadow animation to tell of the tale of the deathly hallows. But the transition was so poor that I was not able to immediately sense that the tale is already being told. We had even a hard time remembering how the first hallow died. Thanks to Wikipedia for its reviews.

No longer cute as kids, not so charming as adolescents, not fitting for mature roles yet

It is noticeable how Harry and his friends have grown old. They are no longer teens but adults, yet their quest and their decisions were still dependent on the adults. This was evident in the first part that their parents were still significant parts of their lives. The movie have some sexy scenes as well, such as that part of Hermione and Harry kissing and making up naked. In this case, my concern is that what would kids think of this. I wonder how do the kids think of Harry? Do they see him as a kid, a teenager or an adult? In the movie he is just 17. The liberalism of the western culture regarding sex, is not the same as to the taste of our conservative culture.

From the years of the development of the story. The novel seemed to be so dependent on the situation that it will be turned into the movie, that Harry would have to take so many years in Hogwarts, until his adolescent years. So it’s like the earlier Mara Clara were the plot has to be stretched. My cousin who was not able to see the previous Harry Potter movies, had so many questions, which was related to the previous books. So I can say, that the movie is not full in its sense to deliver at least a story line worthy to watch, in which the audience will not have to be bothered after all by trying to make sense of the things that are missin. And, as to this movie, I feel cheated that it was like a marketing ploy or strategy as to whether Radcliffe can still draw audience, as the book has drawn millions of readers. The producers could have shown this movie at one time, even if they double the price of the movie ticket.

Aside from this scene, their other romantic scene is PG

No wonder, my nieces and nephews are not so excited about it. Now, the news says that Part I is leaking in the Internet. This would be a good explanation as to how much the movie will gross in the market for its uninformed and capitalistic ploy in giving the audience the toppings of a pie, when what we want is to taste the whole pie. I’m certain, that none of this hoax of an ending divided in half will ever happen again after Harry Potter. The half-baked pie of the half-blood prince should be half the price anyway.