Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Movies’

Hail, Caesar! is an unexpected Coen Brothers valentine to Hollywood

April 06, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

Hail, Caesar! is not one of the Coen Brothers’ masterworks, nor does it aspire to be. It’s a light and jaunty romp somewhere between Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Like O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it alludes to Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges’s brilliant comedy about filmmakers, their intentions and pretensions.

Josh Brolin stars as a “fixer” at Capitol Studios whose current duties include helping a cowboy western star (Alden Ehrenreich) transition to dramatic actor, covering up the unwanted pregnancy of an Esther Williams-like bathing beauty (a very funny Scarlett Johansson), pacifying two powerful gossip columnists both played by Tilda Swinton, and retrieving a kidnapped star (George Clooney) whose absence is holding up production of a Biblical epic called Hail, Caesar! In the course of 24 hours he crosses paths with an effete director (Ralph Fiennes is a great comic actor), a star of musicals (Is Channing Tatum our Gene Kelly? In any case, everyone is just happy to see him), and in a hilarious scene, the representatives of four major religions vetting the screenplay of the Biblical epic.

Hail, Caesar! pays tribute to the alchemy of cinema, to the way a hokey story full of cheesy lines delivered by ham actors is mysteriously transformed into an emotional truth. This is why we go to the movies.

Hail, Caesar! is now showing at Power Plant Rockwell.

Not even the terrible reviews could prepare us for the ghastly Batman v Superman

April 05, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in a world where soulless villains from outer space have sucked out all the color, forcing the citizens to live in browns and grays. Nope, it’s just Zack Snyder’s usual palette. What is his problem with color? Does the lack of color signify seriousness, or is it a reaction to the bright primary colors, so much like the comic books, of DC’s competitor? We revisit Metropolis two years after the mass destruction at the end of Man of Steel. Humanity’s love affair with Superman is going sour. He’s being blamed for the destruction of the city. Politicians are bothered by the way he can just do whatever he wants, acting independently of all human authority. Tech billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, horrendously miscast, turning in the worst performance of his career) plans to use all these to his advantage. And in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne/Batman is seething.

How many times have we seen Bruce Wayne’s parents gunned down in that alley? By now we ourselves should be putting on costumes and going out at night to fight criminals. Employing one of his favorite tricks, slooow motion, Snyder stages the murder of the Waynes and repeats the scenes throughout the movie in order to plant a certain name in our heads. It’s not entirely his fault, half of it is bad writing. (The Carmina and Mike Doctrine: If you see David Goyer’s name in the credits, prepare yourself.) Bruce/Batman is furious at Superman for leveling the Wayne Building in the process of saving Metropolis from General Zod. Given how much collateral damage Batman himself incurs when he’s saving the world, it looks like professional jealousy. The only way Batman’s rage could be justified is if Robin died in the collapse of the Wayne Building, and we don’t see this happening.

Read our review at InterAksyon.

Scenes that come from out of nowhere: That dance in Ex Machina

April 01, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 2 Comments →

The recent announcement that Oscar Isaac and Alex Garland would be working together on Annihilation, based on the work of Jeff VanderMeer, reminded us of our favorite scene in Ex Machina.

Have you read VanderMeer? Should we?

Hele, the Lav Diaz film that won in Berlin, is Stupendous, and we would watch it Again.

March 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Movies 1 Comment →


The preview of Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) at the Dolphy Theatre in ABS-CBN yesterday was called “Take The Hele Challenge”, playing up the best-known fact about the film: that it’s eight hours long.

Not that it won the Silver Bear in Berlin.

Not that it’s awesome.

But that it’s long, implying that it appeals to masochists.

And that it stars Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz. (Clearly Lavrente has no manager, or the fact that their names are above and dwarf his own would be an issue.)

We were prepared for the “challenge”. Ricky made up a hashtag: #endlesslav. Ricky, Jay and I met early to get a proper breakfast. I brought a neck pillow for comfort, fish crackers and caramel and cheese popcorn for sustenance, and a fully-charged phone for sending friends desperate pleas to help me escape from the screening. I did not need any of these. Amazingly, I did not need the intermissions (with catering) every three hours, either. They turned out to be a distraction. Once you get in the zone, you just want to keep watching the movie.

It’s gorgeous. It’s bizarre. It’s beautiful. It’s bonkers. At no point did I feel like leaving the cinema.

My friends and I would watch it again. In fact I want to stand outside the theatre and point and laugh at the people who cannot watch it till the end.

Now I have to write about it, and it’s daunting because the review has to do the film justice.

* * *

Here’s the link.–lav-diazs-new-movie-is-the-passion-of-the-filipino-in-8-brief-hours

The Tarsier looks like Yoda and leaps like a superhero. It should be an Avenger!

March 14, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Science No Comments →

The Tarsier should be an Avenger! Speaking of which:

Did you squeal when a certain arachnid made an appearance? We did. Eleven years old forever!

Ang Pagtatapos ng Gandang Ganda Sa Sarili Sa Disyerto: Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman

March 08, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Movies, Places 2 Comments →

By Noel Orosa, ECD, Campaigns & Grey


Sa British Embassy sa Tehran kung saan pinagdududahan ng mga opisyales ang pakay ni Gertrude.

BRITISH CONSUL: Ano’ng ginagawa mo dito?

GERTRUDE: Nagpunta ako rito para magmaganda.

BRITISH CONSUL: ‘Yun lang? ‘Yun lang talaga ang pinunta mo rito?


BRITISH CONSUL: Hindi ako naniniwala sa ‘yo.

GERTRUDE: Maniwala ka man o hindi, ‘yun lang talaga ang pakay ko.

BRITISH CONSUL: Talaga lang, ha? Aber, kanino ka magmamaganda?

GERTRUDE: Sa buong Middle East!

BRITISH CONSUL: (pabulong sa kanyang sarili) Antipatika! Arestuhin ka sana ng lahat ng mga Druze, ng mga Arabo, ng mga Sheikh! Arestuhin ka sana nilang lahat!

(Kay Gertrude, hindi siya makapipigil) Gertrude, mahal kita!

GERTRUDE: Ano? ‘Di ba may asawa ka na? Bakit? Ay. . .Sigh. . .H’wag mo na lang akong sagutin. . .


Sa disyerto kung saan inaabangan ng mga Druze ang beauty ng kampo ni Gertrude.

MABABANG URI NG DRUZE: Gertrude, walang ganda-ganda sa desierto. Lahat pinapatay namin! Papatayin kita!

GERTRUDE: Masyado akong maganda para patayin ng isang mababang uri na katulad mo! Dalhin mo ako sa sheikh mo! Sheikh mo lang ang may karapatang pumatay sa gandang ito!

MABABANG URI NG DRUZE: Ang kulit mo ha! Sinabi nang walang ganda-ganda sa desierto, eh.

Sa bahay ng sheikh ng mga Druze.

SHEIKH: Ang ganda mo.

GERTRUDE: Sigh. . .

SHEIKH: Ang bagay sa ‘yo, variety show.

GERTRUDE: Hindi ko pinangarap mag-artista.

SHEIKH: Loka! Ang ibig kong sabihin, ang bagay sa ‘yo manuod ng variety show! ‘Yan ang gawain namin dito t’wing kami’y nababagot.

Sa bahay ng sheik ng mga Druze kung saan may variety show.
SHEIKH: Pakakawalan na kita. Ang ganda mo, eh.

GERTRUDE: Sigh. . .


Sa desierto kung saan inaabangan ang kampo ni Gertrude ng mga Arabo.

ARABO: Huli ka! At hindi ito isang hamak na pag-aresto lamang! Ipinakukulong ka ng aming sheikh!

GERTRUDE: Bakit? Sobra na ‘yan, ha! Kahit ako hindi ko naman inisip na ganuon ako kaganda para ikulong ng isang sheikh!

ARABO:Kunwari ka pa na ‘di mo alam na gano’n ka kaganda! E alam naman naming ikaw ang Reyna Ng Mga GGSS dito sa disyerto.


MGA ARABO: (Sabay-sabay) Gandang-Ganda Sa Sarili

GERTRUDE: Ah. . .Siyempre naman alam ko ‘yon. Pero ang sarap kasi umakting na kunwari hindi ko alam na maganda ako. Role model ko kasi si Tweety de Leon sa classic na Heno de Pravia TV commercial kung saan kunwari hindi n’ya alam na crush siya ng pintor kahit pagkalaki-laki ng portrait niya na pi-naint ng pintor.

Sa bahay ng sheikh kung saan nakakulong si Gertrude dahil sobra siyang ganda.

GERTRUDE: Fatima, alam kong ikaw ang nanay ng sheikh. Pero ilang araw na ang nakalipas at nakakulong pa rin ako. . .bakit?

FATIMA: Gusto kong ikaw ang maging reyna ng harem ng aking anak na sheikh.

GERTRUDE: Pero…(magsisinungaling) May asawa na ang beauty ko.

FATIMA: Umalis ka na rito.


Sa British Embassy kung saan papayag na si Gertrude na patulan ang Consul.

GERTRUDE: O, ayan. Bumalik na ako para sa ‘yo.

CONSUL: Ako naman ang kailangang umalis para makipaglaban sa giyerang ito.

GERTRUDE: (nagtataka) Kaya mo talagang iwanan ang gandang ito?

CONSUL: Hindi. Katunayan magpapakamatay ako sa giyera gaya ng una mong kasintahan.


Sa isang baile kung saan umaakting na malungkot si Gertrude upang lalong mabighani sa kanyang ang lahat ng mga nagtitipon.

OPISYAL1: Patay na si British Consul. Nagpakamatay raw sa giyera.

OPISYAL2: Bakit daw nagpakamatay?

OPISYAL1: Dahil daw sa isang babaeng GGSS.

Maririnig ni Gertrude ang lahat.



Sa British Embassy, kung saan pinag-iisipan ng lahat ng mga opisyales ang sagot sa isang napakahalagang tanong.

OPISYAL1: Kung maging independent na ang Iraq, napipiho kong magkakagulo duon. Marami ang gustong maging hari.

OPISYAL2: Mahirap lutasin ‘yan. Tanging isang taong GGSS lang ang makakalutas n’yan.

OPISYAL1: Isang taong Galing na Galing sa Sarili?

LAHAT: (sabay-sabay) Hindi! Gandang-Ganda Sa Sarili!

Sa isang disyerto kung saan kinakausap ni Gertrude ang dalawang Arabong may falcon.

GERTRUDE: Ang ganda ng falcon mo.

ARABO1: Pero mas maganda ka.

GERTRUDE: Magiging hari kayong dalawa.

Tatayo si Gertrude upang iwan na ang dalawa.

ARABO1: Pa’no niya nalaman na magiging hari tayo?

ARABO2: Ganda kasi niya eh.

Maririnig ito ni Gertrude at lilingon sa dalawa at mapapangiti. Ngiti ng isang babaeng hindi alam na maganda pala siya.