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Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and the Intangibility of Thoughts and Time

Monday, September 7, 2020

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”- metroscene mag


I’m thinking of ending things – the film opens with these words: first, as a tiny white title against a black screen, then as the first sentence of the young woman’s monologue. She’s thinking of ending things, and many others. She’s visiting her boyfriend Jake’s parents for the first time, she says. They’ve been together for six—maybe seven weeks? She isn’t sure. He picks her up, she climbs in the car, and kisses him on the lips. The snow falls softly as he drives, and she continues to think of things she wants to end. Things begin from here. 

Kaufman who directed Synecdoche, New York and co-wrote Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, now offers a new Netflix film that has the merits and faults of most Kaufman-written movies. 'I’m thinking of ending things' has a simple, straightforward premise. Starring Jesse Plemons as Jake, The Boyfriend, and Jessie Buckley who is credited at the end as The Young Woman, Kaufman developed a story of a young couple driving through a blizzard to visit the farmhouse of Jake’s parents. But true Kaufman style of course, the story is never just simple as that. 

  

The film oscillates between thoughts and truths, as the images that inhabit the minds of the characters are slowly replaced by uncertainty, illusion, and doubt. It portrays ideas such as the slow fading of life, discontentment, impatience, the labelling of memories as an attempt to keep them, only to discover in the end that they were caged for so long it now fears freedom. It’s a strong film that goes beyond most cinematic conventions, not the very first one to do so, but still very refreshing to see when done well.

But films, no matter how well-thought they are, have weak points, too. The film is paralyzed in its own ambitious themes, and immobilized by tedious dialogues that carry more metaphors than messages. It decapitates its most admirable strengths – such as the performance of Toni Collette as an eccentric matriarch, and the unsettling atmosphere and mystery that the farmhouse seems to be enveloped in – by transitioning the tension through the shift of themes and settings that’s excessive rather than eloquent. 




Still, there is no reason to dismiss the things that film attempted and succeed in executing. Kaufman frames thoughts that way thoughts are conjured in the head, or in the middle of a conversation, as well as the way people get so easily involved with their thoughts that it becomes their reality, their fears and pasts. We see these themes personified by the character played by Jessie Buckley. In the film she is Lucy, Lucia, Louisa, and at one point she was also Ames. She studies quantum physics, studies gerontology, paints landscapes, and we don’t know anything about her beyond that. But we see the story through her eyes even though she travels in memories that don’t belong to her. Do we trust what she sees? Do we trust what she tells us?

'I’m Thinking of Ending Things' is now available for streaming on Netflix. If you want something to think about, go watch this film.

Written by Kim Argosino  



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5 Free Filipino Films to Watch While in Quarantine

Sunday, September 6, 2020

5 Free Filipino Films to Watch White in Quarantine  - Metroscene Mag

Social isolation can be frustrating and numbing. As our social relationships slow down during the enhanced community quarantine, the best way to rekindle our souls is to view movies that embody the frailties of human stories. Recently, movie producers have been spoiling us with films uploaded for free streaming. Fancy a movie or two amongst this big list of free movies? 

These five movies are perfect to reminds us of the world we'll soon be free to see.

John Denver Trending



The film that sweeped awards from Cinemalaya 2019 is finally available for free streaming on iWant. This independent drama masterpiece marvels with its brave take on social media bullying, revealing the often abused stretch of the internet's influence beyond screens.

Starring the raw and brilliant young actor, Jansen Magpusao, and the timeless Meryll Soriano, John Denver Trending details the most human of struggles, and how our digital reputations are as vulnerable as the truths we carry within.


I'm Drunk, I Love You



Originally released in 2017, this independent romantic-comedy flick that revolves around the narratives of bestfriends, beer enthusiasts, and almost lovers, is TBA Studios' most recent surprise in their YouTube channel.

How can one drunk confession change the dynamics of friendship? In a final trip before their graduation, two friends find out the taste of confessional aftermaths that no chaser could ever erase. Starring Maja Salvador, Paolo Avelino, Dominic Roco, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith, this film will hit you harder than alcohol.


Edward



Set in a public hospital, Edward follows the story of the titular teenage boy left to take care of his sickly father. In time with the present conditions of our society, the film awes it audience with its gut-wrenching truths in our healthcare system, and the little attention it receives from our government.

Originally relased exclusively for the 2019 Cinemalaya, the film can now be streamed on iflix for free. Lead by Louise Abuel as Edward, and Ella Cruz playing the role of the love interest, this coming-of-age tale dramatizes how one can carry the burden of societal and political faults at an early age.




Bliss



Disabled from an accident in a production shooting, an actress was forced to reside in her secluded home under the care of her secretive husband, and an eccentric and cruel nurse.

Another treat from TBA studios, this critically acclaimed psychological thriller shows the transitions from fame to madness, as the lines between reality and dreams begin to grow shorter. Starring Iza Calzado, Ian Veneracion, TJ Trinidad, Adrienne Vergara, and Micheal De Mesa, this film delights in the most terrifying tumults of immutable horror.


Bar Boys



Perfectly timed with the coming release of the Bar Exam 2019 results, Bar Boys gives viewers a peek into the hardships and successes faced by law (and non-law) students -- from long tedious note reviews and shaky recitations, to barkada hangouts and online gaming. The film presents the story of four friends, whose dreams were built on thick law school handouts and DOTA.

The makers of the film uploaded the full copy of the movie on Youtube last March 17, in view of the 'enhanced community quarantine' in Luzon. Played by Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Kean Cipriano, and Enzo Pineda, this film will make its viewers sob tears of both joy and sorrow.

Flicks like these have an undeniable universal appeal. From friendship and family, to truths, kindness, and cruelty, these films cover the ground on what it truly means to be human. And what else could be more human, than celebrating art in the comforts of a home and familial safety?


Text by Kyle Cadavez and Kim Argosino 



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“Atlantis” Is Reportedly Getting a Live-Action Remake Starring Tom Holland

Thursday, May 28, 2020


If there’s one thing every Disney fan can agree on, it’s that ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ is an underrated gem.
Luckily, Walt Disney Studios has (allegedly) found its next live-action remake of one of their animated films with Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Though the details about the live action is very limited at the moment, a source at The Illuminerdi shared that  the live-action remake will feature Tom Holland as ‘Milo’. 
ICYF: The Disney animation classic features Milo (Michael J. Fox) discovering the lost world of Atlantis. He and his team of daredevil explorers meet the Atlantean people and eventually become entangled in the fate of their world.

Watch the video below



Disney is also now developing:


 101 Dalmatians prequel Cruella, starring Emma Stone

 The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey

 Pirates of the Carribbean: On Stranger Tides, Into the Woods


Which Disney animated film would you like to see get a live-action remake? What is your dream cast for the Atlantis remake? Let us know in the comments below.



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'Gameboys', a much healthier choice than 'Sakristan'

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Gameboys: A much healthier choice than 'Sakristan' - Metroscene Mag

Set in the present day of pandemic, a fresh series that will surely captivate hearts and create buzz comes in a surprise, and it's a much healthier option than 'Sakristan.'

In a quarantine period where Pinoy viewers were hooked and laser-eyed to the popular Boy Love (BL) series from Thailand, '2gether', a Filipino BL series entitled 'Gameboys' will surely make a mark.

                   Also Read:  The Metro Manila Pride and Festival is going virtual this year


Recently premiered last May 22 in The IdeaFirst Company's Youtube page, the show's first episode 'Pass or Play' opens with the lead actor, Cairo, played by Elijah Canlas, Facebook live-watching his online play with fans.

Next comes Gavreel, starring Kokoy dos Santos, who defeated Cairo in an online match. But what happens when two unexpected friends not just play their consoles, but play in the name of love?

The first time I watched the pilot episode, I was in awe, maybe because I didn't expect this kind of a daring move for a show to be shown in the country. But then I found myself smiling as the episode ran.

Gameboys: A much healthier choice than 'Sakristan' - Metroscene Mag


'Gameboys' is a promising BL series that will create history in the theme of LGBTQ+ in the country. Sure, shows like this is still considered as a taboo but it will effectively create discussions and discourse.

Not to mention that it is the first Filipino BL series, because while there were a lot of gay media produced beforehand, none were really using Thai's BL formula, not like this one.

It's a great start. A fearless dip of toe in the water. With two actors who have been harnessed by numerous indie films, their acting prowess is definitely a no doubt.

Shooting in this quarantine period, the show is oustanding considering the limited production and social distancing each one should observe. The editing and shoot-from-webcam tone is a notable work.




Although cringey at some parts, the actors' exchange and delivery of lines and 'pabebe' acting is great. Also noting Kokoy's charm and Elijah's cuteness are off the charts.

Who said boys can't play games then eventually fall in love? Fingers crossed.

However, the producers of the show are still collecting the audience's reactions and are still deciding on the show's future. Help in making it a regular BL series and show them your love and support!

Who knows the Philippines is ought to have its own version of SarawatTine?



Text by: Kyle Cadavez



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Lavarn na! ‘Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Musikal’ will be available for streaming

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Can Darna sing?


The Filipino musical with gender-bending superhero is going off the stage to your screens as it streams online on May 30.

ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal will be streaming free on the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) YouTube page as part of their #CCPOnline initiative.

Ze Muzikal, is based on Carlo Vergara’s graphic novel Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah, and was first staged in 2006 to 2011 in various locations like CCP and PETA theater by Tanghalang Pilipino.

It was supposed to be a part of the theater company's musical lineup for its 35th theater season but the schedule was changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Filipino superhero folklore, tackles issues on feminism and LGBTQIA+ rights. The stage musical is written by Chris Martinez with original music and composition by Vincent De Jesus. It is directed by Chris Millado.




In the meantime, refresh your Zaturnnah knowledge by revisiting the 2006 film directed by Joel Lamangan where Zsa Zsa Padilla played Zsazsa the superhero and BB Gandanghari embodied Ada in all the best ways. Not gonna lie, I'm looking forward for Queen Femina Suarestellar Baroux's The Story of Planet X performance.



The Filipino superhero also inspired an animated adaptation produced by Rocketsheep studio.



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'The Half of It' is a revolutionary gem that allows us to think and question ourselves

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

'The Half of It' Neflix - Metroscene Mag

 "Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole."


The film opens with this quote from Plato. Slowly, the dark background is interrupted by moving dashes of gray until a new scene appears: a body with four arms, four legs, and two faces on a single head. We hear the voice of our main character Ellie Chu, softly narrating how we were split into two halves because the gods feared our wholeness. And then we spend our entire lifetimes in search of our other halves.

But this is high school. And Ellie has no time searching for her other half. Instead she uses her time to write essays for her classmates in exchange for money, watch old English shows with her Chinese father to help him speak English, and steal secret glances from the pretty Aster Flores, whom she liked in silence.

'The Half of It' Neflix - Metroscene Mag


Suddenly Paul Munksy, an inarticulate football player, enters the frame. He seeks Ellie’s help to write a love letter, intending to give it to Aster. Ellie was reluctant at first but since she badly needed the money, she accepted. This is where the story develops.


It's easy to find a bit of ourselves in every character: how we easily stutter and find words slipping away at the sight of people we adore, how we cope up with our own struggles, how we fall for the most unexpected people, and how we own the love we're willing to give with pride.


'The Half of It' dives into the deeper meaning of love. Now we can love ourselves and others through acceptance, and how it is a blessing rather than a product of sin.

The film does not only revolve about teenage romance but tackles greater struggles such as misconceptions on religion, homosexuality, communication, and friendship.

                   
                    Also Read:  The Metro Manila Pride and Festival is going virtual this year


Here we see how difficult it can be to verbalize and communicate our feelings. In one scene, Ellie's father falters in an attempt to speak English, while Paul struggles to sew his words together. A brief moment of silence was how they spoke the loudest.

All in all, 'The Half of It' is a revolutionary gem that allowed us to think and question ourselves. It's a film of half-worn jackets slumped lazily on one shoulder, and brutal honesties often half meant. Despite the subtle nods to the lack of wholeness in many scenes, it is a fulfilling experience that would leave you feeling whole.


Watch the trailer below: 


Text by Kyle Cadavez and Kim Argosino 


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'Hunger Games' prequel movie officially in the works

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Calling all Districts!


Lionsgate has officially confirmed that it is adapting the new Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, as a feature film.

According to Collins' The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will focus on a teenage Coriolanus Snow, before he broke bad and become the evil president of Panem.

 “Young Coriolanus is handsome and charming, and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, he sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the Tenth Hunger Games… only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.” she shared.



 The movie has no official release date yet but the novel is set to be published on May 19.




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Pixar's “Float” is its first-ever all Filipino animated short film.

Friday, March 20, 2020


Pixar made history by featuring Filipino animated lead characters for it’s new short film!

The short film “Float,” which is a part of Pixar’s experimental storytelling initiative “Spark Shorts.” The film is about acceptance and the story revolves around  a father discovering his son’s unique talent.

In an interview, Pixar writer/producer Bobby Rubio talked to Action News about his project.

"It's based on my own personal story of my son," he shared. "In the story, the father is dealing with a son that floats, which makes him different from other children."

Rubio said he took a feature-based approach to make the characters resemble real Filipino American traits. 

"Float" is one of four Pixar SparkShorts, which will be featured on the new Disney+ app when it is launched on Nov. 12.

Watch the trailer below:








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JOKER: ALL IT TAKES IS ONE BAD DAY

Image result for JOKER

By: Carlo Angelo Sunga

HIGHLIGHT
: As one infamous clown once said, “That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.” Joker, Batman: The Killing Joke 

So far, 2019 is full of remarkable films, and Todd Phillip’s Joker might be one of them. It’s a memorable viewing experience that left me pondering the question of whether or not it’s a well-crafted masterpiece.

There’s no doubt Joker is an enjoyable cinematic treasure; it shies away from the source material and crafts its own story. As such, it appeals to both non-fans and fans of the 79-year old character. Nonetheless, does it make it film worthy enough to watch?

Well, yes. Despite its slow-burn pace, the story of Arthur Fleck is invigorating enough to bring you at the edge of your seat until the end. It showcases the build-up of one man’s path to insanity with a message that’s easy to convey.

However, this “message” might be its number one flaw as well. The film isn’t meant to be a sociopolitical statement, yet some viewers might think it is.

Joker is a character study, not a representation of mental health in general. While it conveys emotions well enough for viewers to relate with, it’s not something that should be taken seriously.

Joker trailer

To get to the point, Joker is like everyone’s wet dream, a selfish fantasy of revenge and anger, similar to what Taxi Driver showed back in 1976. The film is still an enjoyable cinematic experience, thanks to the brilliant performance by Joaquin Phoenix. He captures the essence of how one bad day can turn a man insane.

The controversy surrounding Joker might be bigger than the film itself, but it doesn’t make the viewing experience any less dull or unimaginative.

The unsettling tone is quite unorthodox for a comic book film, maybe because it doesn’t view itself as one. For both fans and non-fans, Joker is a must-watch.

At the end of the day, don’t let the hype get the best of you, form your own opinion.



This is my substantial opinion of the film. Did you watch Joker already? What do you think of Arthur Fleck and his origin story? Let me know in the comment section below.

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