Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Echo

The Echo (2009) Official PosterThese past few years, Asian horror films have broken through the Hollywood scene. These flicks that scared many Asians from Japan, Thailand, and the rest of Asia have been translated and re-filmed using the Hollywood style of film making and some even with known stars.
Horror flicks like The Ring and The Grudge have been successful in gaining an international release. And just last year, The Echo, based from the original Filipino movie "Sigaw", was filmed and it was released also under a Hollywood production under the same producers of The Ring and The Grudge.
Even though I am not very fond of this type of genre, I was intrigued to see how The Echo was. I actually have not seen the original version prior to watching this one so I have no idea of its story. And so I did watch it and it gave me the creeps from its opening credits till the end.
The story revolved around Bobby, a paroled convict, who went home to stay at his mother's apartment who was found dead in it. Neighbors of his mom says that she turned insane before dying of starvation. And during Bobby's stay in the apartment, he experienced hearing different sounds around the walls and nooks of the unit. He would also hear his next door neighbor fighting throughout the night. He would hear his noisy neighbor in the hall way with the lady banging on the doors. And he would frequently find the little girl from next door on the hallway playing her toy piano. He even had encountered his neighbor police on the hallway and telling him to mind his own business.
As the movie progress, Bobby would see unusual beings in different place and hearing different sounds. And one night after hearing that the fight next door is getting out of hand, he knocked and entered to an empty room. Then he learned from the building manager that there was no one living there for the longest time. And that there are only two tenants on the same floor, the other is just a single man.
During this time, Bobby's ex-girlfriend noticed his lady neighbor knocking at the door which gave her doubts on Bobby. One time she decided to talk to Bobby's neighbor only to find out of the empty room as well. But this time she experienced the fury of the poltergeist next door by dragging her by the hair and hurting her. Only in time for Bobby to hear the commotion and saved her. And during that night Bobby was able to take courage to stop the fighting spirits on the hallway and stopped their haunting.
The Lady Next Door and the PolicemanGina the next door lady hovers over Bobby
Among the creepy parts of the film include scenes were Bobby was awakened with the dead lady from next door is hovering down to him from the ceiling while dripping blood, the restroom scene where the dead kid wild bloodied hands clenching the topside of the toilet cubicle, and the sound effects done to mimic the sounds made during the death of the family next door.
I would rate this film as an overall 9 due to the creepiness and the new scares it brought to the audience. And due to this, I had to watch the original Filipino version to compare. I would say that The Echo was very much an improved version of the original from cinematography, editing, sound effects, and twists in the story though it retained the trademark scary scenes of the original film also. But unlike the Hollywood version, the Filipino version gave a longer exposure to the ghost family.
I praise its director, Yam Laranas for the job well done on both films specially on this Hollywood version which he improved very much. I hope that his next film which he is doing now, Patient X, will be as good or better than The Echo. Iza Calzado, who played as the lady next door, is the only original cast member whom was part of the cast on this newer version.
Trailer of The Echo

Some Scenes from the Original Filipino Version - Sigaw (The Echo)

Iza Calzado from Sigaw (The Echo)Sigaw (The Echo) PosterRichard with Iza Calzado at Sigaw

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Wedding Singer

The 80's is such a great decade, in my opinion that is. It's an era of great music though very weird fashion. It's an era where big pop icons like Michael Jackson and Madonna made it big. Here, the Wedding Singer has put its plot in the midst of this period and filled the movie with its fashion, trend, and of course great soundtrack.

The Wedding Singer stars one of my favorite Hollywood actresses, Drew Barrymore, and Adam Sandler whom I haven't heard before this film came out.
The movie started with Adam's character, Robbie Hart in a wedding event where he is among the best in town. And coincidentally, Julia Sullivan (Barrymore) is one of the waitresses that night. There they've met in the back of the restaurant. Robbie is set to marry his fiancee and so it Julia. Julia had to book Robbie to be her wedding singer.

Unfortunately, the day of Robbie's wedding his bride didn't showed up. This broke him very much that he became grouchy and a bad wedding singer. Because of this he had to tell Julia that he won't be singing in her wedding. But he was able to guide her in preparing her wedding, from choosing the cake, the rings, the dress, and a new wedding singer.

In the course of this, they fell in love with each other but was unable to profess each other's feelings. This was made known by their 'church kiss' practice. On the night of Julia's wedding, Robbie, drunk with wine went to Julia's house to express his love but saw her trying her dress smiling thinking that she is happy but is not.

The next day she decided to go with her fiancee to marry in Las Vegas. And learning from this, Robbie made all his means to take the flight to Las Vegas and try to stop the wedding. Fortunately, he was on the same flight as with Julia. And with the help of the crew and other staff in the first class seat, including Billy Idol, Robbie sang over the intercom to Julia. It's a song that has become one of the favorites of many, Grow Old With You.

It was such a beautiful movie in my opinion with the collection of its music and its whole story line.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Heart and Souls

‘Walk like a man, Talk like a man!’

When this is sung, it makes me remember this beautiful film about four ghosts who got stuck to a kid for about 2 decades after they all got into a vehicular accident. This movie stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Thomas Reilly.

The story began with a public bus picking up four individuals of different walks of life. One is a frustrated singer name Harrison, the other is a mother named Penny, then a lady whom was afraid to express her love named Julia, and Milo who stole stamps from a kid.

On that fateful night the bus met an accident where it fell from a bridge. It almost hit a car to which Thomas’ parents are on and his mom is on labor. Thomas is born that day and the ghosts of the four individual got connected to him.

The four stayed with him, played with him during his childhood years. Thomas alone can see them. The mom, Penny, sang a song to him so he can sleep. People around Thomas got worried about him having four invisible friends. This made the four ghosts decided to disappear from Thomas’ sight but they stayed with him until he grew as a man who had trouble finding his heart.

One day, as the four of them are following Thomas, their bus and bus driver appeared and told them that it’s their time to go up. But all four bargained to finish their unfinished business before moving on. The bus driver agreed but he’ll take one of them everyday.

This prompted the troupe to force themselves to reappear to the older Thomas. This was not accepted well by Thomas after all the trouble he went through as a kid with them in his sight. And after troubling Thomas he is forced to help them.

First he helped Milo get back the stamps he stole and returned them to the kid he stole it from who is now older. After that success, the four souls and Thomas sang on the streets of San Francisco, ‘walk like a man, talk like a man’. I think it was such a classic scene. Then the bus came to take Milo.

Next they tried to look for Penny’s kids but being caught in traffic in front of a BB King concert. They had Harrison sing the American anthem in front of an audience. Harrison had to be forced in Thomas’ body to perform. This surprised the lady ghosts as well as Thomas’ girlfriend who happened to be in the same show with her parents. And at the end of the anthem, the bus came in to take Harrison.

Thomas is later taken by the police because of his stint. And upon leaving the police station, they hit a policeman’s car which happened to be Penny’s son. This made Penny ready for the bus.

And lastly, it was Julia’s turn who tracked for his old love but sadly he was already dead. But she was able to finish her task which is to help Thomas in his love life.

This is definitely among my favorites as it had a heart and emotion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is one the big hitting movies in 2001 that is a creation of the Baz Lurhmann who directed and co-wrote the film. It starred Ewan McGregor as the penny-less young poet Christian who falls in love with the courtesan, Satine, played by Nicole Kidman.

The plot rolled in the year 1899. The story began with Christian moving to Paris to try his fate as a Bohemian poet. He ventured into the underworld of Paris where drugs and prostitution is common place and in the center of it is the Moulin Rouge managed by Harold Zidler.

Christian came to Paris to write a play and after meeting a troupe of artists, they looked for a cast for their play. They met Satine, the star of Moulin Rouge and he fell in love with him. Satine in return first mistaken him as the Duke whom Zidler is setting up with her to save the Rouge. She fell in love with his poetry but had to disguise their love by presenting to the duke a play entitled 'Spectacular Spectacular'.

During the preparation of the play both fell deeply in love with each other that Christian made a song for both of them that has become part of the play. But due to some jealousy of one of the courtesans, their love was revealed to the Duke that he had the story changed and forced Zidler to give him Satine.

In the midst of this and without Christian's, Satine contracted a disease which I think was tuberculosis after she sput blood from her mouth. Knowing this and with the advice of Zidler, she went to the Duke. Christian thought Satine has no love of her anymore after she left him. On the day of the play, with anger on Satine, Christian appeared on the play to pay Satine. Later on, she professed her love still with Christian. Satine died at the end of the play.

This film had a lot of great scenes which were accompanied by pop music like Madonna's Like A Virgin where Zidler guised himself as a virgin as she portray Satine's interest to the Duke. Lady Marmalade that was performed by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and Lil Kim was also one of their main songs. They've also used I Hope You Don't Mind by Elton John and the Sound of Music from the movie about the Von Trapp family. They also had the Rhythm of the Night. These are beatiful pop songs that they fitted on this movie plotted in the 19th century, a bit in contrast but used very well.

Aside from those familiar songs, they also have new songs that were beautifully written like Come What May, The Show Must Go On, and One Day I'll Fly Away. The costumes were also good specially the Can Can girls. Also in the movie when I first saw this, I was surprised to see Ewan sing specially after seeing him as a Jedi master in Star Wars which came out in 1999.

It was such a nice film that one would definitely like watching not only for its storyline but also by the music that they have used. That is of course if one likes musicals. Actually I had a thought while watching this, that how would they do this on stage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Top Ten Favorite Films

How should I start this new blog site that will focus more on my great interest in watching movies as per my other PauTravels blog that focus on my travel interest is course listing down my top ten movie favorites.

Since I started working as an IT professional, I have started on buying movies to be part of my collection and these are original copies and not the pirated ones. Probably as of last year, I already had about 110 copies of different movies which I very much like. That includes mostly romantic-comedy, fantasy, science fiction, classics, and some action films.

Among these, I'd say the following should top the list but not on arranged to priority:

1. Moulin Rouge. This is a musical which featured pop songs as part of its musical lines, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The movie on the story of star-crossed lovers who met in Moulin Rouge.

2. Heart and Souls. This is a story of four ghosts who got attached to a kid who was born on the day the four met a deadly accident. It starred Robert Downey Jr. as the adult kid who helped the four ghosts finish their last tasks.

3. My Best Friend's Wedding. This movie follows Julia Robert's character as she try to sabotage her best friend's wedding. Aside from the story, its songs made it lovelier.

4. The Wedding Singer. This is set in the 80's era where it runs around the love story of the wedding singer played by Adam Sandler and the waitress played by Drew Barrymore.

5. Interview with The Vampire. Based on the novel of Anne Rice, this is a story of two vampires played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in their quest for a future together.

6. Independence Day. The day aliens came to earth and attacks its key cities, a group of men led the fight for Independence. Will Smith plays the main role.

7. It Could Happen To You. A very inspiring movie that focused on a cop played by Nicolas Cage who won the lottery and gave a waitress the biggest tip she got which is 2 million dollars.

8. War of The Worlds. Based from the novel of H.G. Wells, its a story about the attack of Martians to the planet.

9. Forrest Gump. This movie follows the story of a special kid who grew up to experience great achievements in his lifetime. Tom Hanks played the role.

10. Titanic. Based on the real event of the sinking of a celebrated maiden voyage of the Titanic which sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The story follows the love story of Jack and Rose played by Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.

How about you, what's your top 10?

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