Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zombadings 1:Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington

Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington
Directed by Jade Castro
Written by Raymond Lee, Jade Castro and Michiko Yama

Zombie screwball should cover it if you feel the need to wrap a code around Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington, the way it runs on the same odd tracks as both the lowbrow tomfoolery of Chiquito movies and the affectionate B movie crudities of Sam Raimi and all the self-aware postmodernism such a mashup implies makes it so spot-on it's as if that was the actual log-line Jade organized his film around, except it only really turns zombie on us in its final third and is more a werewolf film up until then, in which our eponymous homophobe falls under a hex that gradually turns him gay even as a serial killer is picking off everyone in town who is.

Homosexuality as a curse can be misconstrued as demeaning and actually has, as the off-point and far-fetched outrage flung this way bears out. But the germ that feeds it is that old andold-fashioned Frank Capra trope
- - - the comeuppance and enlightenment that comes from walking in the shoes of what you abhor, and more than anything, it's really subverting the very stereotypes it only seems to condone, much as it's hard to tell sometimes from the breathless velocity of the gags and the caricatural swish and swagger of gay argot and affectation it relies on to make it fly. The character actor stalwarts, from Janice De Belen to John Regala with his game face on to the mighty but under-used Odette Khan, buttress the superstructure to prop up what they can of the third act sag that besets it. And for the shapeshifting by degrees at the heart of matters, Martin Escudero is like some one-man army of goofy, a bravura act of pitch. But it's Eugene Domingo who detonates every scene she's in with surreal delight. And Roderick Paulate is stunt-casting that's both preordained and genius. The queer act he's made his metier by rights should've gone stale after all this time but somehow it's even gained nuance and range. It's a shtick, sure, but it's a shtick that never ever gets old.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Directed by Lawrence Fajardo
Written by John Bedia

"What,like a bullet, can undeceive?" (Herman Melville)

Amok is well-oiled tumult, a chaos mechanism of wrong place-wrong time dynamics fed through a portmanteau that has everybody looking to Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu as point of reference, if only for how both hew to similar tropes of threading a line through disconnected lives suddenly thrown in the glare of blood and harm. But where Inarritu gets overwrought in preaching a grand design, not to mention a troubling hard-on for closure, Amok is more haphazard, has little to say that hasn't been said before, but so much to say it with, neither overreaching nor belaboring. If nothing else, it's a technical feat, of logistics and guerilla tactics and cutting. It's rigorous, precise.

The bustling intersection where it all comes down is both milieu and metaphor, and the one thing shared by the motley ensemble of has-beens and also-rans it corrals: they all just happen to be in the area. The cocky cop on the walkway waiting to rendezvous with an asset (Efren Reyes Jr., funny), the faded stuntman living alone with his rancid nostalgia and a rent girl sleeping in his bed (Mark Gil, funnier), the put-upon brother driving his cranky sister around and stuck in traffic (Archi Adamos), the ex-cop with a baby on the way and a chip on his shoulder (Dido De La Paz, a walking tour de force). If it wobbles here and there, it's mostly from spasms of bad acting and the patois ringing false. But in never lingering on one character longer than it should, it blurs the chinks into forgiveness. Brief snatches are all we get to see of these brief lives, not so much arcs as they never get to complete any. It's the point of everything here: how our stories don't so much end but are cut short halfway through the telling and often in a random blast of doom. There's a weariness to its nihilism that's more wounding for being so resigned. The world is a clusterfuck. And God is a bullet.