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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Now A Big Fan of Alfred Hitchcock Presents


I'm such an old soul!  Imagine, with all the imaginative TV shows available right now and the access we have to almost any TV show around the world, it kinda surprises me that my most favorite TV show right now premiered 60 years ago!

Thanks to Cignal cable, I was able to have Fox Crime as part of my cable channels and everyday, the channel features two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock presents!  Ever since I learned of the schedule, I have been watching it religiously - and it fits into my schedule perfectly - 2:30 - 3:30 AM - two episodes of it, right before I got sleep!

Each show is just 30 minutes but it's some of the best 30 minutes I've seen on TV.  And I've never been disappointed with any of the episodes!  Some of his episodes are even scarier than most horror movies I've seen today. 

It's the sense of dread that hits you at the pit of your stomach, that makes his episodes so effective!  Last night, a prankster reporter who always cried wolf finally gets his due, by finding himself in the morgue freezer - while he's still alive!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Crepe Amelie: Delicious Pasta and Crepes


















Our good friend Myriam Wong brought us to her son's quaint crepe place, Crepe Amelie at the A-Venue. It's very easy to spot since it's on the driveway that is across where the tiangge is.
We feasted on different plates of pasta and a BLT egg sandwich, and the Tuna Primavera was the most tasty of all the four different pasta plates we tried. The Pasta Pomodoro with Salmon was a close second.
The piece de resistance of the place though are its crepes - and all the crepes we ate were delicious! Since I want my desserts to be uber-sweet, our choice fit my taste buds perfectly! The S'mores was sweet and chocolatey, while the Dutch Caramel Apple was the best since, you'd have a lasting taste of the sweet apple they place inside.
I paired them with straight black coffee, no sugar, no cream - and the combination was divine! Sweet caramel with apple and chocolate blends well with strong coffee! Super yum yum talaga!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Michael de Mesa Makes Georges the Perfect Counterbalance To Zaza




Robin Williams memorably played this role as the father of the groom, in The Birdcage, the movie version of La Cage Aux Folles.  Local veteran actor Michael de Mesa played a more subdued version of the role but was nevertheless funny and firm, especially that his role required him to meet the demands of both his son and his partner!

I think this is the first time I've seen him sing, and he can definitely carry a tune!  And he provided the perfect counterbalance to the live wire act which Audie's character had to provide!

Steven Silva: A Wonderful Revelation in La Cage Aux Folles!



I first met Steven Silva in an elevator ride but since his friend Raffy Rosell was with him, it was Raffy and I who got to talk and Raffy never got to introduce Steven to me since the ride was short.

Anyway, he was such a revelation onstage as he played the son of Michael de Mesa and Audie Gemora, a very crucial role in the musical, La Cage Aux Folles. I remember the actor who played this role in The Birdcage was very handsome!

Steven naman is cute and charming in his own right, and he can really sing!  I actually felt nervous for him because in some scenes, he had to sing - and dance - with the veterans, Michael de Mesa and Audie Gemora!      

Outside the stage, he did seem a bit shy, especially in meeting the audience theater-goers, but he was very gracious when he met our group.

I might be mistaken but the girl who played his girlfriend should be the daughter of ballerina legend Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.  They had the same apelyido kasi (her name is Missy) and she did many ballet moves in her scenes.  Actually, they looked cute together as a couple! 

Audie Gemora Gives Masterful Performance in La Cage Aux Folles



To Manila theatre goers, Audie Gemora is like a godfather who's always there to either grace the stage or be behind the stage and make sure everything works in the play production.
I believe he really outdid himself when he played Albin/Zaza in the local theatrical production of La Cage Aux Folles which we saw last night with my friends! Nathan Lane played the movie version (The Birdcage) of this role and he was hilarious in it.
But Audie takes the role into a higher level and makes the character all his own! I was literally seeing Albin/Zaza in a totally different light! Audie's voice is amazing and I'm sure he really worked hard to sound that great!
It was one of the best performances I had ever seen by a local actor in a local production. He just really owned the stage - and practically taught every other actor - how it's really done! Kung sa Tagalog pa, may K talaga sya magtrain ng mga bata sa theater - because his work is by itself a master class altogether.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken: The Movie is the Title


While I was watching Anthony Hopkins in the movie Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, playing the movie title's namesake, I couldn't help want to see him go on a "Hannibal Lecter" mode as he delivered his lines!  It's been more than a quarter of a century since The Silence of the Lambs, yet every time I see him, I see Hannibal Lecter! 

My mind was going like "Why can't he escape? He could eat these guys' livers with a glass of Chianti if he wanted to!!"  Talk about being seriously stereotyped in one's mind!

This time, the whole movie was shot in Amsterdam, and it's not the Amsterdam I would like to visit.  I guess because of the whole aura of the movie - it being a crime film - the city looked dreary, sad, cold, forbidding, and dark.  

By the way, this is a true story and it was set in a far more innocent world, where billionaires don't have bodyguards and complex security systems.  This is the Netherlands after all, and I guess crime like this rarely happens there.  

The movie is the title and there are no surprises here.  I didn't even feel much tension.  I guess if a far more experienced director like Spielberg or Scorsese did this script, there would be more blood, more craziness, and we would all be on the edge of our seats.  It really takes a lot of skill and creativity to put people on the edge of their seats!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dave Franco: Adorable and Cute in 'Unfinished Business'





I'm not sure if I have featured Dave Franco on this blog before, but anyway, he becomes 2015's hunk #3 after Jamie Dornan and Taron Egerton.  He does have a cute butt which he shows to great effect in his latest movie Unfinished Business.  I love the way that he acts here, completely makes him cute and adorable! He does look hot shirtless with that naughty smile of his!

Movie Review: Unfinished Business Shows Berlin's Hedonistic Side









I want to go to Berlin!! Those were the thoughts that went to my head as I watched Vince Vaugn and his workmates in the movie, Unfinished Business, weave their way through that city's uber-hedonistic party places!
The city does not photograph well, as maybe, Paris or New York, and since the only known landmark I know is the Brandenburg gate, I couldn't tell if they were in Hamburg, or Stuttgart or Berlin (they had to go to different cities in Germany for business).
The movie itself is a lot of light fun written obviously from a man's point of view. It's rated R16 because there's so much shameless nudity - and these guys are just pushing and pushing the limits of what may be deemed funny!!
I never dreamed of seeing a "glory hole" scene in a typical Hollywood movie! Or a unisex sauna!! Or a hotel room that's in a museum! Ever since a decade ago, the buzz from Berlin's art and party and social scene has been great and this movie just shows the more base and hedonistic side of it. Oh well, it would be great to try a few risque things even when I'm a bit older already.
It's a good thing the writer and director decided to set this in a cool European capital, otherwise, it would be just like the Hangover series.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lovin' the Macarons at TWG






I am now a big fan of TWG!  Had dinner there twice already and I've enjoyed the experience.  Too bad lang they don't have a QC branch. Sad....

Buffed and Dapper Spy Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Secret Service





Well, 2015 has already reached its third month so here are some of the actors whom I've discovered in movies this year, to be the new hunks of the year!  The first one on the list is the lead actor from Kingsman: The Secret Service, Taron Egerton.  This is the first time I've actually noticed the guy and he plays the spy role really well.  Tough kid growing up in a tough neighborhood with no father to guide him - fits his tough looking role - at least in the beginning of the movie.  However, when he's all dolled up, he can look as dapper as any GQ model!

The Dead Wakes Up in The Lazarus Effect


When the Bible story about Lazarus was told to us when we were kids, we never got to ask our Christian Living teacher what happened to Lazarus after he came back from the dead.  Did he live a normal life again like nothing happened?  Nobody ever asked if he saw visions of light or the gates of heaven or no medical doctor examined him to check the effect of loss of oxygen to the brain.  Just like most stories in the Bible, we just had to believe.

Anyhow, if we did get to ask those questions, we might get a horror movie like The Lazarus Effect.  The title alone is already a giveaway as to what happens in the movie - and effectively - that is the most interesting part of it - the first 45 minutes keep you alert - and interested on what's going on.  

After that, the scriptwriter and director get lazy and the movie descends into the usual horror movie schlock.  A pity really since the audience I was with in Greenbelt 3 were obviously on the edge of their seats in the first half of the movie, with the director scoring a lot of cheap shrieks from the female audience through effective editing and scene set-up.  Sometimes I don't get it when horror movie writers set up the premise so well and just opt for the easy way out to finish the story.

Anyway, The Lazarus Effect is a good excuse for you guys to have your wives or girlfriends hold on to you, that is, if they can stand a medical science horror movie.  Just make sure you're not a shrieker yourself!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Redmayne and Jones Shine in The Theory of Everything


Do not read this piece if you are still planning to see Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything or you don't know anything about Stephen Hawking's life - spoiler alert!
Like many college students at that time, I too, bought a copy of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. This was in the early 90s, when his brilliance - and his attendant sickness - brought him worldwide fame and adoration.
I remember reading the book and not understanding a thing about it. I think that's what separates geniuses from ordinary people like me. It did make one feel very very minuscule compared to the vastness of the universe that Hawking's has envisioned for all of us.
After watching The Theory of Everything last night, I may have to look for that book again in my book stack upstairs. It should be there between my college yearbook and my 90s diaries.
However, if you're more interested in the science and in the mathematics that goes with Hawking's theories, you won't find it in the movie because the movie is based on the book written by Stephen's first wife, Jane. that's why this movie should've been released during Valentine's day - because it's a bittersweet romantic story between two very selfless people - one, who, despite his terrible affliction, turned the world upside down with the way we envisioned our universe - and the other one, who sacrificed her life and career just to make sure the genius of her husband shines through.
The movie is so lovingly done I wish all divorces were that civil! Eddie Redmayne probably saw Oscar written all over the script when it was given to him - you can actually see him disappear and be Stephen! It's a very flashy role and I'm not surprised why the Academy voted for him. While I was watching him, he kinda reminded me of the young Daniel Day-Lewis, who played a paraplegic poet in My Left Foot - another showy role that got Daniel his first Oscar.
However, the real revelation, at least for me, in this movie, is Felicity Jones. I already knew, Eddie can act, but this is the first time I've seen this girl, and she delivered an amazing performance! I'm really impressed! Any other actress with lesser talent would've made her character a pity party persona, which would be a tragedy.
Now that his love story has been told, it would be great if the science behind his genius becomes the focus of another movie on Stephen Hawking, much in the same way that The Imitation Game, another movie about another British genius - Alan Turing, showed how Alan broke the Enigma.
Now that two movies about geniuses have been shown in mainstream cinema, I kinda realized that even the brightest people the world has ever produced have the same problems as ordinary people - and that they are not immune to love, divorce, society's hypocrisies, and medical anomalies.