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Friday, September 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Nasty Ghosts of 'Ladda Land'

Ok, don't be fooled by that picture!  This is a horror movie - although the first 15 minutes might make you think you're watching a dramatic family movie.  Well, some Thai horror movies work, some don't.  Well, this belongs to the latter.  It has some scary moments but weirdly, it left me more irritated than interested!  I mean, why do they keep returning to that house?  Do normal people just barge into houses where a murder has happened?  Doesn't really make sense!

There might be some scenes which will make you jumpy or scream but you don't feel any sense of dread in the film.  And the ending is a bit melodramatic for my taste.  It's actually better to watch horror movies on the big screen but you might want to pass on this one. 

Movie Review: 'Abduction' Just Another Joyride

This was one of the few movies this year which I think looked promising in the trailer but when I  watched the whole thing, I left the theater wondering what all those chasing and punching and kicking was all about.  I mean, what was the point of all those James Bond-ish capers and villains and throwing men off the train thing?

Anyhow, the first hour was the most interesting part of the movie since that was when you discover something about Taylor Lautner's character and how he grapples with the sudden turn of events.  The several action scenes that follow should satisfy the boys from middle school who love these things.  Otherwise, everything just screeches to a halt in the end, and when you see the whole picture - you kinda say a big, HUH?

Well, your female date may want to watch this because Taylor is naked, as usual, in some scenes - and you because you may not want to be bored by some romantic movie.  But there's nothing here that you haven't seen Jason Statham do better, so if you want to save money, just get the DVD from your friendly DVD stall in Divine or Poquia.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Movie Review: 'My Neighbor's Wife' Another Movie that Will Lead You to the Bedroom After Watching It

It's great that someone in local filmdom has decided to resurrect the "adultery" formula in local movies since I haven't seen any of it for a very long time! I mean how many pa-cute movies of John Lloyd and Sarah Geronimo can you actually stomach!!  Guys, there is life after falling in love - and it's not always pretty!

I actually grew up with movies filled with a lot of cheating husbands and scheming wives - that's why I love Vilma Santos so much - even if I'm a Noranian!  She has so many memorable roles as 'the other woman' - that she has practically patented the 'how to act like a querida' in my memory bank of local movies.  Just watch the classic 'Relasyon' and be blown away by the performance of Miss Vi.  Now, THAT is a feisty woman!

So in a way, it was fun to watch 'My Neighbor's Wife' not only because both Jake Cuenca and Dennis Trillo shed their clothes off here like there was no tomorrow, but also because it was delicious to see four attractive, virile, sexy individuals grappling with their lust as they navigated and strengthened their own marriages. It's a good date movie because couples will surely do the their thing after watching it - what with all those sex scenes!  Just like Friends With Benefits!

I think they could have edited the movie more to make it tighter, maybe 15 minutes less so that the denouement would be more dramatic.  Two hours was too long.  Otherwise, I enjoyed it because after watching Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos fight so much in many 'adult' movies of my youth - it's refreshing to discover that some of today's actors and actresses are willing to take over their thrones.  And it helps that they're much much yummier!
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Questions Straight People Ask Me: Aren't You Afraid of Growing Old Alone?

Who said I was alone?  I have family and friends.  Have you seen the old people in the Home for the Aged?  They had families too.  There is no guarantee that just because you have children, someone will automatically take care of you when you grow old.  It's just a matter of tit for tat.  If you were a lousy person when you were young and treated everyone around you badly, nobody will take care of you when you get old, unless you pay for them to do so.  But I think if you gave love when you were young, there will be someone out there with a big heart who will take care of you when you are old - whether they be family or not. 
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Questions Straight People Ask Me: Aren't You Afraid of God?

When I was younger, after all that bombardment in Catholic school and in church that gay people will go to hell, I couldn't understand how a God that's supposed to be and good kind would even bother to create gay people.  Why not create all of us straight and heterosexual so we gay people won't have to grapple with all these emotions as we grow up! 

And then, I realized, the problem was not with God - He with the omnipotent capacity to love and forgive.  The problem was with the people around me - the religious intolerant, the hypocrites who preach love but are quick to judge those who are unlike them.  And then I began to realize, God doesn't hate me.  I have done nothing despicable against anyone.  It is these other people I should be wary about - those who spread hate just because we are different, because we are in the minority, because we show them that we are also capable of loving and caring for other people like them. 
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Enjoying Pablo Neruda's Poems Now That I Can Understand Spanish!

Definitely one of the advantages of being able to comprender espanol is that I can now read Pablo Neruda!  How cool is that!  It's really true how a lot of the rhythm and cadence gets lost in translation once the poem is read in English.  If you're an English speaker, you can get the message but you lose the music of the poem.  Spanish is so compact in how it expresses something, and it's more voluptuous in how it respects its vowels and pronouns.  Just delectable!

A mis amigos espanoles hablantes, que te diviertas!

Me gustas cuando callas
by Pablo Neruda

Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente,
y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca.
Parece que los ojos se te hubieran volado
y parece que un beso te cerrara la boca.

Como todas las cosas están llenas de mi alma
emerges de las cosas, llena del alma mía.
Mariposa de sueño, te pareces a mi alma,
y te pareces a la palabra melancolía.

Me gustas cuando callas y estás como distante.
Y estás como quejándote, mariposa en arrullo.
Y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te alcanza:
déjame que me calle con el silencio tuyo.

Déjame que te hable también con tu silencio
claro como una lámpara, simple como un anillo.
Eres como la noche, callada y constelada.
Tu silencio es de estrella, tan lejano y sencillo.

Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente.
Distante y dolorosa como si hubieras muerto.
Una palabra entonces, una sonrisa bastan.
Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

I Like For You to be Still by Pablo Neruda

I Like For You to be Still
by Pablo Neruda

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it's not true.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Movie Review: Really 'Horrible Bosses'

Just before Pedring made landfall Monday night, Vic and I watched this hit comedy movie Horrible Bosses.  I really enjoyed watching Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey in it as they played their 'horrible' roles to the hilt! I bet you've never seen goody-goody girl Jennifer in such a nasty role before!  Here, she's no holds-barred and plays all the sex innuendoes to the hilt!  This is also the first time I've seen Kevin Spacey do a relatively 'light' role so it's a good break from seeing him in something very serious.

I also like Charles Day, the guy Jennifer was flirting with.  Maybe because it's the first time I've seen him that's why his performance sticks to my head.

Over-all it's a very light movie.  Watch Colin Farrell disappear in all that make-up! 
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Lo que hicimos cuando Pedring llego Manila ayer

Me despierté a las onze de la manana ayer y comprendí que había no electricidad.  Nuestras nanas me dijieron que la cortaba a eso de las 8.  Las vientos fuera eran muy fuerte y era peligro para salir. Entonces nos quedamos en casa todo el dia.  Leí mis revistas que se estaban acumulando y jugué con mi sobrina y sobrina.  Cenamos temprano mientras había la luz.  La electricidad fue volvido a eso de las 8 también pero todavía no había internet.

Theatre Review: PETA Gives Shakespeare a Contemporary Voice in 'William'

Watching this play gave me memories of high school Shakespeare. It's funny that subjects that used to terrorize us before continues to do so on today's youth, 20 years after taking it!  I don't blame them.  I grappled through Shakespeare till second year college when we took it in Humanities 1!  That time, we even had to study his sonnets!  Que horror!

Anyhow, 'William' is a clever production from PETA (Philippine Educational Theatre Association), where they use rap and hip hop to defuse the fears of today's youth whenever they pick up that intimidating book containing the Bard's plays.  Through music and the use of contemporary plots (a wife working abroad, broken families, discovering one's homosexuality), the play was effective (at least on the day I saw it) in bringing to the very young audience, the complex yet relevant messages of Shakespeare! 

My favorite scene was when one of the actors did Shylock's monologue from The Merchant of Venice.  It was exactly the same monologue I did for English class almost 25 years ago!  Of course with less dramatic flair than what the actor did.  It was great that the writer chose several famous monologues of the Bard and infused it into the lives of each of the characters.  At least it would make it less intimidating for the students and it would transcend their usual choice of Romeo and Juliet.  Mind you, each of the main characters did their own respective monologues!  Hmmm....I'm sure the writer also did that in his own English class in high school!

Interestingly, I might watch one of Shakespeare's most violent plays this weekend in UP - Titus Andronicus.  That would be a totally different experience I'm sure.  And I think it's going to be in Filipino - patay!

Friday, September 23, 2011

If God Spoke to You, Would You Tell Anyone About It?

I got this question from an article by Jim Paredes.  Apparently, this was one of the questions in a psychological test for government employees in the US sometime in the 60s.  So it got me thinking as to what I would do if it did happen to me.  I guess I would say yes, especially if the message is very important.  I know that after doing that, people would brand me as crazy and I would lose my credibility fast, but if I what I feel in my heart really happened, then it's my duty to tell the world about it.  And anyway, I don't think God would give out just any ordinary message to the world!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Movie Review: Thai Horror Flourishes in '4Bia'

This picture above is my favorite among the four short snippets featured in the 2008 Thai movie 4bia. It was retitled as "Phobia" here in the Philippines.  That segment was entitled "In the Middle" and it was inspired by the style of such classic horror films as "The Others" and "The Sixth Sense".  It actually borders on comedy but it is scary enough to make you squirm at your seat.  I will definitely look for this movie's DVD when I go to Bangkok.

A First Look at Madonna's W.E. movie

This period in British history was also featured in this year's Oscar-winning Best Picture movie, The King's Speech, but we never get to see the woman who made it all happen, Wallis Simpson, only King Edward VIII.

Judging by the two scenes from the trailer, now, we can finally see what may have happened to Wallis Simpson during that tumultuous time in the history of the British monarchy.

Movie Review: I Was Coughing While Watching Contagion

I was nursing this cough for a few days now and while I was watching the movie, Contagion, I had to cough at several points in the movie.  Really, it was the worst place to be coughing like that since the movie presented what could possibly happen to the world when someone coughs like the way I did during the movie!

Anyhow, you got to credit Steven Soderbergh for being able to get such A-list actors to play characters who will just die after twenty minutes into the movie!  Goes to show how much he's loved by the actors in Hollywood - at least those in that A-list.

Well, I like how the movie is presented but there's nothing much really that makes you feel a sense of dread, considering how dreadful the effects of that virus was on the human body.  I was expecting more dramatic decisions to be done but suddenly the movie screeches to a halt when the vaccine was discovered.  I did want the movie to end on a more positive note but since this is just a 'fantasy' movie, I wanted it to digress a bit from what has already happened in real life (the Spanish flu in the early 20th century, SARS in 2003) and be more bold in presenting the storyline.  But like any Hollywood film, everything ties in very neatly in the end.

Watch this if you feel like watching an almost-medical thriller although Coma was more scary.  Otherwise, it's about people getting sick, and who wants that on their weekend.
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Movie Review: Fright Night Is Actually Scary!

Fright Night (2011) Publicity Still
I just caught one of last screenings of Fright Night, a remake of the 1985 movie, which I was not able to see, but heard about.  Anyhow, this updated version harks back to what vampires are really like.  So while everyone awaits the brooding vampires of Twilight, we get to see blood-sucking, really ugly, sons of bitches, off to conquer the world, block by suburban block!

Colin Farrell is perfect as the sexy vampire but watch him transform to an ugly SOB here!  I like everyone in the cast, from Anton Yelchin to Toni Collette to comedian Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who has perfected that geeky comedian schtick.  The suspense starts in the beginning so there are no pauses here where there's no action.  It's boom-boom-boom from the start.

This is a perfect date movie since your date will surely cuddle close to you.  Colin doesn't shed his shirt off though and he does really get ugly here and nasty.  He's a vampire, after all!
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Movie Review: 'Friends With Benefits' Perfect Date Foreplay!

It's great to see Justin Timberlake finally carry a movie after a credible turn in the Oscar-winning movie, The Social Network. He gets to undress again here and he does it many many times.  This movie kinda reminds me of Love and Other Drugs and No Strings Attached, where both Jake Gylenhaal and Ashton Kutcher undress again and again and again.  Love it!!

Well, the story is run-of-the mill romantic comedy so nothing really interesting there.  I just love the soundtrack though where they feature 90s hits like Semisonic and Kris Kross!  Also, Mila Kunis is so cute!! I have seen her in Black Swan where she looked bitchy and mysterious, and then in The Book of Eli, where she was all covered up in soot!  It's finally great to see her au naturel here.

If you want a good date movie this weekend, watch this and I'm sure you'll have some fun with your hubby, gf, bf, or date later.  With all the sexy scenes in this movie, you know where you're headed after watching it.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Luck to 'Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank' on its Oscar Bid!

I am an avid fan of movies winning or getting nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.  It is a much maligned category because of the 'weird' rules the Academy has imposed for a film to be eligible in that category, but even then, the yearly list of nominees are quite impressive in theme and storyline.  So, I think Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank has a David-like climb to be able to at least, be even shortlisted among the five nominees in this category.

Well, I think the Academy will appreciate the 'poverty' scenes in the movie since that is really how the Western world sees our country.  Eugene Domingo's performance in this movie is also fantastic so it's a plus point for the movie.  The way the movie also pokes fun at the hypocrisies of indie filmmaking in this country should be something a Hollywood filmmaker can relate to.

The quality of the shots though may work against the movie.  I just found it devoid of colour or it was too grainy.  Compare that with the luscious cinematography you'd see in many European or even Iranian or Chinese movies, and it could be a minus for us.  The storyline too is a bit weak.  Nothing dramatic happens in the end and not much life-changing events that the Academy voters really love to see in a foreign film. 

Anyhow, we don't know who the final 400 voters are going to be so we should just band together to make many of the 1000 voters initially chosen to choose the shortlist, at least, to get to see the movie.  With so many countries competing, that alone is going to be a tough task - but not impossible!

FABE Model: Mark Onir in FABE Accessories

I am helping my Mom get into an artist enclave in New Manila where they invite arts and crafts makers to display their wares.  When I found this out from Jazel, my classmate in French class, I immediately knew that Mama was perfect for this group, since, the accessories she makes are artworks in their own right!  And she makes them individually by hand!  Imagine that! 

Anyhow, these are some of the photos of the FABE Accessories which Mama has made and model Mark Onir has shown exceptionally well - the contrast between his masculine features and the femininity of the accessories are just really striking!  Both come out really really sexy!

Paying Your Dues

I read this beautiful article today entitled, "Give Your Best Gifts Now" by Nelson Dy in the Job Section of the Philippine Star.  Obviously, the article was directed towards today's young jobseekers, but there is so much truth in what was written, since I too, applied it when I was still in their shoes.  I knew the feeling then of having to toil day in and day out, building the business, not knowing if tomorrow will be a much better day. 

At that time, I just accepted any job I can do, or thought I could do well, since I knew it would be useful for me in the future.  And voila, everything just fell into place soon as I hit my early 30s.  When I finally started earning seriously, I knew that finally, every sacrifice I made starting out has finally been repaid in full and more!  And I just look fondly at those memories when I really worked my best even if I knew that the pay was not too good.  At least, karma had a way of paying you back in the end.

Theatre Review: "In The Heights" Not So Farfetched from the Pinoy American Dream!

I didn't know that I would put my Spanish language skills into use while watching In the Heights - a Tony award winning play whose main characters are immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I think 20% of the musical was either sung or spoken in Spanish. Even the voice over during the break and before the show began, was in Spanish! "Descanso por quinze minutos!" "Que calor" "Amame, besame, llamame" - anyone with a basic working knowledge of Spanish would certainly appreciate the musical and now I know I can confidently interact with Latinos based in New York - although as the musical states - even Dominican and Puerto Rican Spanish have major differences! My friends who work in Spanish language call centers would know that best.

Anyhow, it was great to see Jackie Lou Blanco and Calvin Millado on stage again! They both did wonderful turns as a couple whose daughter was undergoing a personal crisis. Also, it was a welcome sight to see Nyoy Volante rap - and he can rap really well! He's a natural! So don't be fooled by all the acoustic music he has limited himself on doing. He can actually do much more than sing a forlorn love song! And he can act too - since he's actually played Usnavi, the lead character of the musical.

Felix Rivera and Ima Castro are wonderful and excellent as always. However, the revelation in the musical for me is the girl who played Nina and her name is K-La Rivera. It's the first time I've seen her in any of the local musicals and she's quite refreshing to watch - a pretty face with a damn pretty voice too!

My favorite sequences was the part where they dance the salsa and the merengue, what else! Nothing like energetic Latin dancing to celebrate life!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Movie Review: Trust Will Make You Squirm in Your Seat

There's a creep in this movie and he's as bland and harmless looking as your Physics teacher in school. 

That he gets the trust of young female teenagers and sexually assaults them will be the reason why watching this movie, Trust, will make you squirm in your seat!  A variety of emotions passed through me as I was watching this movie, and it has certainly served as a cautionary tale for me since I have a niece and a nephew who will soon be both Internet users.

Clive Owen and Catherine Keener both give exemplary performances here, as always, but there are 'weird' things in the script which will make you question the logic of the movie.  As to why the young girl feels like she should protect the person who raped her befuddles me.  Also, when Clive Owen's best friend says that, oh, it's not really rape, really shocked me.  Hello, his daughter is only 14 years old!  I was surprised the actor who played it did not even question his own line!

Other than those, the movie tries to be relevant and plays all the reactions of a family breaking apart due to the machinations of a sexual predator.  Interestingly, David Schwimmer directed this.  Now I wonder, how Martin Scorses would've dealt with this subject matter. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Best Gift: "You Helped Me Up When I Was Down"

The -ber months are upon us and before long, the frenzy of gifts-buying will have descended on us.  Oh, the pressure of it all!  Anyhow, I enjoy getting gifts but I don't quite put much of a premium on it. I think it's because we weren't really given that many gifts when we were kids and as we grew up - whether at Christmas or during our birthdays.  We just learned early on that if we wanted something, we'd have to work for it ourselves.  That's why the idea that someone has to give me something to make me happy is strangely foreign to me - because I can really just buy it for myself, especially now that I have the means to do it.

In spite of that, the best gift, for me, that I wish I would receive from my friends or family, is just to be there when I need them.  That's normally what I just silently pray for when my birthday or Christmas comes around.  Yes, I'd smile if they'd give me my favorite chocolates or book, but really, the best gift is to just help me up when I'm down - and that could be any day of the work week, or at key  low points in my life.

My Shoppin Bag This Week: A Fan of These "Tired, Old Brands"

I actually didn't know that some of the stuff that I buy from several shops in Hong Kong are considered "tired, old brands"!  And I don't mean that in a derogatory way, since these brands have long and rich histories with royal connections or haute couture origins.  Only reason why they get such a tag is that they have fallen out of favor in their home origins and they have now sought new found fame, where else, but in the happening place in the world today, Asia!

These brands are Gieves & Hawkes, Aquascutum and Kent & Curwen.  Mostly, I get my sweaters or winter jackers from these guys since the tailoring is impeccable and they are not so trendy, you can wear them year in year out without having to worry if the style has gone out the window!

French Essay: Sex and the City 2

Je vois Sex and the City 2 tout de suite et je l'aime même si je l'ai vu avant!  J'aime en particulier la scène où Liza Minelli chante la chanson de Beyonce, Single Ladies.  Elle le fait très bien!  Il était très drôle!

Comme d'habitude, j'aime des vêtements est les situations les femmes se trouvent, en particulier, la bonne d'enfants qui a ces nichons genereuse!  Leurs vacances dans Abu Dhabi était ok, mais, je pense, ça c'est le point où le film devenait bizarre!

N'importe comment, malgré les critiques ont attaqué sauvagement le film, je l'aime toujours!