Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Big Time: Filipino Indie Caper Chaos
few days ago, the Japan Society emailed donors, updating them on their most recent
round of Fukushima recovery grants. That shows why we can give to them with a
high degree of trust and confidence. It
is also a timely reminder reconstruction is a long term process—one that is
only just beginning in the Philippines.
the typhoon, Filipino films were appearing with increasing frequency on the film
festival circuit, including a special Filipino focus at this year’s NYAFF.
However, Filipino releases do not seem to be comparatively represented in the
American DVD market. Nonetheless, viewers can check out the Filipino indie
filmmaking scene in all its ragged scrappiness with Mario Cornejo’s Big Time (trailer here), co-written,
co-produced, and co-edited with his creative partner Monster Jimenez, which is
indeed available on DVD from Pathfinder Entertainment.
and Jonas are such small time crooks, they are frankly just unemployed losers. Their latest job involved a jar of Choconuts. Oh, but they have ambitious plans to change
things: kidnapping. Their target is
Melody, a teen-aged beauty queen who harbors dreams of movie stardom. There are just two things complicating the
caper. For one thing, Melody is secretly
dating Wilson, the entitled son of underworld kingpin, Don Manolo. Secondly, Danny and Jonas both happen to be
Wilson comes along in time to foil the abduction, but the spoiled thug is not exactly
thinking about justice. Resentful his father would not loan him the seed money
to start up his own drug smuggling operation, Wilson uses the dim-witted duo to
stage his own kidnapping, along with Melody. Of course, there is no question
who is calling the shots and holding the gun. He promises everyone a cut, but
we know better than that.
is plenty of goofy wackiness in Big Time,
but there is also a fair amount of blood and angst. It pretty much covers the indie waterfront,
peaking with an ending that is both ironic and sentimental. Separately, either
could be annoying, but the combo is quite a feat.
Danny and Jonas, Winston Elizalde and Nor Domingo certainly are not afraid of a
little physical comedy. They might not
exactly light up the screen, but they have believable buddy rapport. On the other hand, it is hard to fathom why
anyone would date Jamie Wilson’s beefy namesake, or pay good money to ransom
him. At least Michael De Mesa takes care
of hardnosed business as the fierce but taciturn Don Manolo.
Big Time admittedly treads
some familiar Taratino-blazed trails, but it brings a distinctly Filipino sensibility
to the tragic-comic caper genre, including tons of local celebrity references
that will be lost on those who do not regular watch the Filipino version of Entertainment Tonight. Regardless, its energy level is
impressive. Recommended for fans of
indie gangster films, Big Time is now
available on DVD.
While there is not an equivalent to the Japan
Society responding to the typhoon with the same degree of local expertise and
stature, the Red Cross always a safe choice for first response efforts around
the globe. You can support their efforts
in the Philippines here.
Labels: DVD, Filipino Cinema