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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holy Week 2017 Thoughts: Taking Care of the Oppressed

I asked Laura and Dylan if they had any idea what they were doing and they said they didn't.
I told them I didn't really like what Palm Sunday signified because it shows one of the fatal weaknesses of men - and it's a pattern of behavior that has been exhibited all throughout history.
I explained to them that the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus so warmly, expecting him to thwart the reign of the Roman empire, and when that didn't happen, in a dramatic turnaround, they turned their backs on him and wanted him crucified.
When Jesus was being persecuted and ridiculed, none of them came to his defense or aid.
It takes a very brave person to turn against popular sentiment. We saw that happen when the Jews were being persecuted in Europe. A few brave people hid them from the Nazis knowing very well, that if they were discovered, they would pay for their offense dearly.
Today, the Syrian refugees who have nowhere to go are being turned away by their European neighbors and are caught in the crossfire between government and rebel forces.
Even in my own country, everyone has to be labeled either for the Yellow group or the Duterte group, which I find very simplistic. There have been so many political machinations on both sides, I have decided to just not listen anymore and just concentrate on the work that I can contribute to the society.

Movie Review: A Heart as Big as a 'Lion'

I've always thought that people who adopted children will surely go to heaven because it's such a noble thing to do. Taking care of your own flesh and blood is hard enough, but taking care of someone who has no blood relations to you and having to deal with all the complications of raising a child - shows how big your heart is.
The foster mother in the Oscar-nominated movie, Lion, played by Nicole Kidman, is one such person. Living in relative comfort in Hobart, Tasmania, she and her husband adopted two young boys from India and took care of them like they were their own.
This is, by far, Nicole's most restrained performance because for movies like this, it would have been very easy to go through the MMK route and have fountains of tears.
However, be sure to bring a box of tissues when you watch the movie, because it's a tearjerker with such wonderful performances from the two kids in the first half of the movie.
If you still plan to watch the movie, spoiler alert, coming up.
I only started crying though towards the end of the movie - in the reunion scene which was built up wonderfully by the accompanying music and the beautiful cinematography - and it does help that Dev Patel, who played Saroo, the lost boy, is such a sensitive actor.
I think that because Saroo's brother died that same night he was left in the train station, that his life had to go through a circuitous route so that he could return safely to his mother and sister, even if it took more than two decades to happen.
I also thought that revealing his brother's death at the end of the movie was pure genius, because it added to the emotional baggage you had to carry while watching the whole movie. At least now you know that his brother didn't have to worry and carry the burden of losing his younger brother in a train station. Ironically, his accidental death saved him.
The reunion of Saroo with his mother also wouldn't have happened without Google Earth - and it also couldn't have happened earlier since he was too young when he disappeared and only knew snatches of information, which is normal for most five year olds.
In the scene where the two "mothers" met, I was a mess. Just the thought that these two women took care of this wonderful boy - a man now - at different times in his life - makes you feel that there are still good people within our midst.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Get Out Movie Review: Horror as Social Satire

Last Christmas, a director acquaintance of mine asked me if I watched any of the MMFF movies. I said no - and he chided me for not supporting independent films.
I did not bother to argue with him anymore because if you really knew me - you'd know I'm the biggest supporter of independent films who is not a graduate of UP MasKom or a MassCom graduate for that matter!
For me, the real test for any independent film comes when a giant Hollywood movie collides with these David's of cinema - and it happened this week as the mammoth box-office remake Beauty and the Beast came to Manila.

If you were truly loved independent films, you'd give Belle and la Bete a shrug and opt instead to watch two very well-directed and well-acted indipendent movies - one local and one foreign.
I already wrote about 2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten, so today, I watched one of the two screenings in SM MOA of the horror flick, Get Out, a movie which debuted at Sundance this year - and is one of the coolest horror social satires I've seen in years! This director, Jordan Peele, is another talent we can watch out for.
Too bad Get Out will disappear from the cinemas tomorrow but if you are a horror fan, or if you like intelligently made horror movies - and know what a satire is - watch this movie!
I don't want to give much away and I suggest you don't watch the trailer too, so you'd have a fresh look at the movie. As you watch the movie, there always stays with you this sense of dread that something really bad is going to happen to this nice young man.
Two of my favorite actresses, Catherine Keener and Allison Williams (of 'Girls') are here and it's so refreshing to see them play against type.
The movie is a slow burn which descends quickly into a very brutal final act - blood, guts and brain matter splattering all over the screen! Just the wayI wanted it to end!

Monday, March 20, 2017

LV Shoes and Clothes are Finally Here in Manila

Like many young people, I went through a phase of shopping craziness and when I learned that LV finally opened at Solaire, I immediately checked it out because I have been waiting for more than a decade for an LV store to open here where they had clothes and shoes in their merchandise.
When I used to live in HK, it was easier, since their store in Pacific Place carried a wide array of clothes and shoes - and it was easy to check the new summer/spring/winter collection every time they came out.
Understandably, since this branch caters to a largely mainland Chinese clientele, the merchandise is aligned with their tastes - a combination of subdued colors to wild animal prints!
When I was there, an elderly Chinese gentleman was trying on a fiery dragon silk shirt - which was a standout amidst the sombre colors their merchandisers have picked.
Even the shoe collection is pretty safe - siguro the red sneakers lang ang medyo out of this world - but since its price is the same as that of Giuseppe Zanetti's crazy shoes - Kay Zanetti na lang.. , .l,
Just to piss myself off and remind me how poor I am right now, I decided to try their blue silk shirt (PhP78,000) and this really soft baby deer leather jacket (PhP212,000) and boy did I love I how looked!
Yes, I am thinner now, I can fit into their XXL, which surprisingly they still have! Maybe the fat Chinese high rollers haven't won big yet.
It would have been more of a kick if I took a photo of myself and put #OOTD and #Sothishow300kclotheslooklike!
Pero I didn't, baka maban pa ako sa branch na eto, lol!

My Comfort Foods: Solaire's Beef Rendang

Food is one of the ways I reward myself and nowadays, a plate of delicious beef rendang is my culinary moment in heaven! Yun lang, I have to go all the way to Solaire to eat it!
It used to be that Cibo's Spaghetti a la Romana would do the trick - and it still does! Good that there's a Cibo in Robinson's Magnolia.
Rack's boneless pork 'something' is another food I treat myself when I want to feel happy - and it's good that Robinsons Manila has a Rack's resto, where I usually drop by after school.
Finally, the fourth dish I could think of that would make me happy is Alba's paella negra! I haven't had it in years but I think I have to visit the place again. One whole paella negra just for myself - yum yum!