Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah) ***1/2 - By virtue of its title, I went "SOLD!" but then it's also directed by Sam Peckinpah so it's DOUBLE-sold. This is about a rich Mexican crime lord who orders his network to bring the head of the man who knocked up his young daughter and Warren Oates, an American expat, is caught up on it. This one isn't QUITE as lurid or exploitive as the title suggests. Well, it is sort of. There are lots of nudity and violence but Peckinpah actually takes his time to build character and story so when it comes, it was quite satisfying. It mixes absurd dark humor, romance and violence very well. It's pretty darn awesome.
Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Na Kayon Ngayon?
(Eddie Romero) ***1/2 - The title is roughly translated as "This Is How It Was
Then, What's It Like Today?" It's about poor Filipino country boy whose mom just
passed away and being a bit of a dumbass, he accidentally burns down his house.
And so begins his journey. One thing that surprised me about this film is that
it is a COMEDY. Well, at least it starts out as a comedy but slowly becomes more
and more serious as it goes along without you noticing. It's a very Filipino
film from the get-go, very Filipiniana. However, the structure is kind of
Fellini-esque in a way. Sometimes I find myself thinking, had Fellini been
Filipino, it would probably be like this. Overall, it's an imperfect film (a bit
overlong) but its message is still shockingly relevant today and imparts it
without being preachy.
Ang Alamat ni
China Doll (The Legend of China Doll) (Adolfo Alix Jr.) *** - I often
complain films being too long. Though seldom do I complain about them being too
short. Well, this is one of those times. Presented in a non-linear structure,
the film is about a young woman who is a criminal turned state witness with the
code name "China Doll" and engaged in a bizarre, sick triangle between an
ambitious journalist and her police handler. The script is by Lav Diaz, director
known for his very, very long films (9 to 11 hours long). I don't know if the
director clipped the script but the film is 90 minutes long and I feel we only
got a very fleeting glimpse of what really should have been a 2.5 hour (at
least) epic to fully explore the many intricacies that this film only merely