Author Archives: markusalcantara

For better or for worse: The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II is such an amazing yet very complicated sequel to The Godfather, and if not, maybe even better.  Such praise and applause should be given once again since the movie indeed exceeds beyond expectations. The film being unbelievingly and surprisingly long is still worth a watch and should not be taken lightly since every second is a work of art. This movie, as said by most movie critics and professionals, paved the way for movie sequels.

The story, being presented in two parallel storylines talks about the rise of power of both Vito and Michael Corleone. This film glorifies crimes even more, adding drama and support in every critical decision and action done by the characters. The film being a masterpiece tells the dramatic story of both father and son and how they struggle to maintain power and influence in spite of all the complications, with all means necessary.

The story being darker than ever as to compare to the first Godfather movie, sets the mood and emotion of the movie that makes the audience feel somewhat sorry as to what happened to Michael Corleone. He is not anymore the Michael that we’ve met in the first film; he is totally different and unrecognizable.  At the end of the film, there is no other reaction for Michael but total pity, sadness, and sympathy since we’ve seen his eventual rise and upcoming fall.

But even in the greatest of films, they also have their own setbacks. The film is too complicated in the sense of it has a lot of characters together with a lot of subplots that are connected. Honestly, it’s very difficult to keep track on to what’s happening with who’s who because of a lot of things happening at the same time, even in Michael Corleone’s case.

I actually found the film very helpful in understanding the background story of Don Vito Corleone until the present who is Michael Corleone. Again, this film tackles a lot about family, relationships, business, power, influence, and money. Being a crime film as it is, it goes beyond the boundaries of morality, having siblings killing each other, a mother aborting her own child so not to be exposed to his father’s sins, and murder as an easy option to end all problems. The film is so full of violence, sacrilege, and immorality that you get this feeling of numbness already at some point if this keeps on occurring. I guess this film is such a challenge to watch but you get this great appreciation for the film even more.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Blessing from The Godfather (090102)

The Godfather can be considered as the godfather of all crime-mafia family films that ever and will be to exist. I now consider this film as one of my most favorite movies of all time together with Schindler’s List and Clockwork Orange. I consider this film as a masterpiece, a diamond in the archives of the greatest films that have ever made. I really admired the characters of this film and how well they were portrayed by their actors from Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte and Diane Keaton, all of them have done well enough to show an emotional Italian crime family. The awards received by this film are all worth it, even all the doubts, conflicts and controversies in the pre-production process, especially its casting.

The Italian American Corleone crime family has now been immortalized because of this film. In my opinion, even though it sounds so wrong, this movie paid tribute to the highly influenced and admired mafia power hungry families. This film shows these kinds of families in a different light, showing the Corleone family not as a threatening family to be afraid of at first but a family that only needs protection from the outside and from them. Somehow they are only victims of people, who want to have the same power, influence, and dominance that they have, as well as their money. They wanted support and affiliation from the Corleone family, and by not granting them that kind of privilege, they tried to put the family down to the ground through various assassination attempts, both successful and unsuccessful in some events.

Thus with these events, consequences of these are now, therefore inevitable. Revenge must be made, reconciliation is somehow impossible to be done for those who inflicted pain to them, and indeed they sentenced them with their own system of justice and karma in their own hands. In the end, the Corleone got their last laugh in the expense of several of their loved ones murdered, battered, and bruised and the change in Michael Corleone’s character from a civilian member of the Corleone crime family to the new Godfather. The transition of Michael’s character can be seen as the darkest plot in the film, a change from better to worst, someone so innocent turning to someone so dark, merciless, and evil, a pure heart being stained by the evil’s surrounding and influencing him.

This film tackles a lot regarding morality, relationships, trust, faith, and humanity. The film being dark all throughout, showing the consequences of too much power, luxury, influence, and status, it certainly tells us that money cannot buy everything and it cannot bring back the lives of the people killed because of it.

Here we can see that family is still the most important thing among the characters, every member is responsible for each other, everyone must be have the same security and protection, and if it is necessary, one should sacrifice himself for the family to be spared.

Indeed The Godfather is a bittersweet story that is both admirable yet heartbreaking.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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What is love? Paris, Je T’Aime (090102)

The movie Paris, Je T’Aime is such a cute heart-warming film portraying various forms of love in the streets of Paris, France. Consisting of eighteen short films about people experiencing love, both positive and negative, in forms such as family, homosexuality, literature, science-fiction, faith, trust, friendship, relationships, and a whole lot of others, this film is completely an enjoying moment to watch.  It’s a treat for short film enthusiasts, couples who are looking for that perfect date movie, and film buffs that just want to watch something different, fresh, and original.

With all the different kinds of emotions, dreams, aspirations, hopes, desires, despair, pain, regrets, and everything that is related with love, being portrayed by a variety of multi-talented actors under the guidance and concepts of world-renowned directors, this is not your ordinary pseudo-romantic comedy movie.  Love, being an abstract concept, an idea, an emotion, and a universal binding force to all living beings, making us self-transcend, inspired, motivated, and live to another day, its interpretations are varied to all people. I believe that even though we are all unique and different individuals, there are certain things that we get to see and understand that we have all in common, that no matter how different our values, morals, beliefs, and philosophies are, at the very end of the day, we all just want to be loved, understood, and be cherished as human beings having the capacity to feel and to love.

I found the film quite a pleasure to watch especially when you’re with your family and friends since not only can most of us relate to certain stories in the film, but we get to reflect with the relationships and commitments that we have. Some of these stories question how we find true love, how we very much are we committed with our loved ones, how we treat our peers, how we spend our time with the people that we cherish the most, and most of all how we love and perceive, and understand the very essence and concept of love.

I really found this movie very light as to compare to the previous films we’ve watched in class. Somehow I’ve realized that indeed stories are always told in the middle and ends in the middle of a much whole larger story. What we only see are fragments of the lives and experiences of the characters that we are encountering. In this film, we are not given the opportunity to know their backgrounds, their wants, their needs, their desires at the very beginning. Instead we are forced to catch up, to collect certain ideas and perceptions of the characters, being open to sudden changes in the plot, with those elements of surprises, and get to know them more from these fragments of scenes.

We get to fall in love with the characters, share their pains and triumphs, learn from their mistakes, and see love from their very eyes to their very hearts. Truly this is a very romantic film, exploring the very depths of the feeling that we all call love.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Silent Scream from Zodiac (090102)

Zodiac is a film about crime, escape from punishment, and man’s blindness of the truth.

For me it’s hard to accept that in watching the film in an omniscient point of view, seeing every detail in front of me, hearing the conversations and the interviews, and even letting me witness several crimes happening from how it was executed, observing how the police not taking certain witnesses and even the hints given by the suspect himself, very seriously since they were too cautious, too much calculated, too much playing safe. I couldn’t blame them either since I’m not part of the police, or part of any other party that involves them in the investigation of this case. These make me feel guilty as a witness who cannot speak of the truth since I’m not part of the movie.  I’m just an all knowing audience, a spectator, seeing everything unfold.

I find this film very disturbing since it ended up with the crime not having a decent closure when all of the evidences are there lying down in front of us, just not in the standards of the police to accept. The ending of the film, being not given a proper closure for them, but maybe for us it did since we, the audience now have a clear picture of what happened and who really the Zodiac is.

With that, this goes to show how movies seem to captivates its viewers, making them somehow forget that everything is all planned out, scripted, not even true. Since in movies, it’s like reading a book, it makes use of our imagination, making what is abstract or an alternative world present inside our heads or in our perceptions. We are so captivated by the films that we watch that we are affected by every dialogue, decision, and turn of events of the plot in the film. We get the mood, emotion, and overall impact, and once we do reach that level of captivation and involvement, then I can say that the movie was successful.

But on the technical side, I found the film too long in its length, having too many details, a lot of characters to follow who would eventually disappear at some point of the film since they are no longer relevant, and too much subplots. On the side note, I found the cinematography, editing, and overall execution of the film very pleasing since it adds mood, emotion, and impact. For me the film was too long to endure, without much of a specific climactic scene since there were certain moments in the film that I felt it was it but turns out to be a disappointment because it wasn’t taken seriously or it wasn’t enough technically by the investigators. It’s such a sad film to watch since there was no justice given to the victims of the murder done by the Zodiac, those actual few crimes that he committed himself and not only what he fancied being connected to him but actually wasn’t.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Such a Pity Little Spider (090102)

Spider is a film that is both pitiful and sad. The movie is all about perception and living in what each assumes every person’s own world and reality. What makes the movie special is that the main character, both protagonist and antagonist can be considered as special. The main character, Mr. Cleg, who just came out from a mental facility and sent to a home to be taken care of, given a chance to belong in the real world, the world of common reality and perception of people that we can consider as normal.

This film is complicated to see as a whole since you don’t know which story to believe is true. What we can presume as true is that the film has an unreliable narrator in the perspective of the main character who is Mr. Cleg. What we believed to be real ever since the beginning of the film turns out to be an alternative story, a narration done by the main character that maybe he himself believed is what actually happened that is being contested by an alternative scene or ending in the film. He’s hunted by this woman whom he believe is following him and thus plans to murder her upon realizing that it’s not really her.

The film is also interesting since it stars Ralph Fiennes, an actor known for unforgettable roles in films such as Schindler’s List and in the Harry Potter series. I used to see him in roles that are vicious, inhumane, and all powerful, but in this film his character, Mr. Cleg, is very different, very contrasting to see him portraying. I find his character in the film very challenging compared to his other roles because he does not depend on dialogues or even monologues to make his character a reality.

In my opinion, childhood memories are there in order for us to have this kind of nostalgia, that most of us can consider as either or both positive and negative. We’re all different, but what makes us common with each other is that most of us, the people that who we are right now, are developed or formed out of our childhood experiences. These experiences, these memories, these foundations of who and what we are enable us to face the world that we’re living in. Usually what inspires us, motivates us, and gives us an urge to continue living is because we are driven by our childhood dreams. In the case of Mr. Cleg, a traumatic childhood, caused by him, develops him to become somewhat a disturbed person.

I consider him both protagonist and antagonist since the story revolves around him and at the same time he himself creates his own story, his own reality, and thus without realizing, destroys his actual world, his real reality, which is the reality outside of his own mind. In the end, I find this movie very underrated since it’s not as popular as Fiennes’ other award-winning films, but his portrayal of a sad and pathetic person can be considered as a praiseworthy performance.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Ideas and Propagandas, V for Vendetta (090102)

V for Vendetta is a film of ideas. This film challenges the relationship between the governing body and its citizens. It definitely questions the roles of both and how they should function with and for each other.

This is not your typical comic book adaptation movie, even though it involves the Wachowski Brothers, the creators of the Matrix trilogy, and Vertigo comics, it goes beyond the realm of what a stereotypical comic book hero is since it is questionable if he, V is indeed a hero or maybe even a villain.

V symbolizes each and every oppressed citizen, whose reason for living is now to build a total anarchy to the government which will then make it collapse. V, being one of the successful test subjects of a government-supported project, who eventually gone through a series of torture, lost all of his former identity and character, thus making a monster that would eventually eat and consume every single one that made his life a living hell. He fancied himself from the number of his jail cell and used a mask with a face that symbolizes an immortal idealism, an idealism going beyond the mind of its maker.

Evey, who at first lives in a life of status quo, who tried in following the rules of the Parliament even though there were times that she innocently attempts to violate the rules, eventually was influenced and her eyes opened by V who is both the self-proclaimed protagonist and antagonist of this film. Here we can see that there are times wherein we shouldn’t settle to conformity, that we should also be responsible for the welfare of each other. It’s all about social change, through the means of collective behavior initiated by V who desires change in ways of influence and propaganda.

A movie of ideas, propagandas, constant vigilance, and awakening, this film is all about having to believe with every individual’s potential and capacity to make a difference. It’s about knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, thus helping them for their survival. We shouldn’t let ourselves be pressured with what society only wants, but we should also see what society actually needs, without even the society knowing, feeling, and assuming that there is such a great and dire need for change and reform. If it cannot be done by the government, then the citizen themselves shall create a new one out of the broken down foundation, thus beginning from scratch, out of pure ideas and ideologies. Such a society cannot exist without both the government and its citizens, still there is an urge of a government to rule over a society but their function should revolve around the need of the people, not the other way around. Karma, what you give is what get returned, is really emphasized in this film, that in some way or another, you cannot totally get away from your past if there is still no closure. The concept of the means justifying the ends and how it is done by both V and the government questions their morals and beliefs. In the end, we should all know our roles and places in our societies.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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I hate Primer. (090102)

Watching the movie Primer for the first and only time made me feel stupid as an audience. For once, I never felt so clueless and doubtful in understanding a movie in my whole entire life. In my opinion, the movie was selfish for not making the audience get a full grasp in comprehending the film. I feel that a film is made for the purpose of to be watched by, if not the general public, majority of people from different backgrounds and classes. The movie is supposed to be made not only to be appreciated by the makers, but by their audience. A film is not meant to be stored inside a container, it’s meant to be presented, watched, and enjoyed as any form of entertainment there is out there.

I cannot understand why it was somehow made difficult to understand on purpose and why so. For me, I really felt betrayed since I wanted to appreciate the movie, even forcing myself to be, but it was impossible. I somehow realized that in order to understand and appreciate it, I might go to the depths of watching it several times and maybe doing some research which is such a hassle and a waste of my time if I don’t really like the film in the first place. If the movie is already selfish enough in not making me comprehend what I’m seeing and hearing, why would I spend my time in making an effort to appreciate it, or worst, even loving it? Maybe the only reason why I would watch this film until the end is because it is required in class and I have no choice but to do it. And what frustrates me more is that I have backgrounds in video filming, production, writing screenplays, and having a decent educational background but why do even I cannot understand it? It seems surreal, unconventional, and deviant for me. I’m a fan of films of all sorts, and for me I feel so betrayed and violated.

The film, even in the midst of all my frustrations, I can still find some positivity in it. First it was done in a simple budget production with only several people involved in making it. This was done in a way to show how a science-fiction concept can be done or be present in the real world. Second, the film was executed strategically in a way that they actually challenged the way a typical science-fiction movie was made, without the usual stereotypical special effects. And lastly, it only had a small number of casts challenged to develop very deep and complex characters. With that in mind, I really hoped that they would do better next time and become more humble in making the film.

I just hope everyone is given the chance to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the film just like the people involved in the production process of this film, from the writers to the director to the actors, etc. If only they were more charitable and generous for their audiences…


Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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