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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just Say No to Molly or E or MDMA

I was watching the late news tonight and I was shocked to learn that MDMA or molly, as they call it abroad, has reached Manila na! I am so naive talaga to think that these drugs will never reach the rave parties here. How sad!

Madonna, being the 'bad' girl herself, actually named her former dance album MDNA to sound like that molly party drug, MDMA.

Yun lang, acquaintances have said to me that it's really harmless, it just makes you really happy and you should be fine - kaya it came as a shock na it can be quite a killer din pala!

I guess the hot humid weather plus the heat pa in the venue fried the internal organs of those poor ravers.

Buti na lang I grew up in a generation where the "Just say no!" slogan for drug use was repeated and was really drilled in our young heads.

So even when nice and well-meaning friends offer us molly or whatever, to give you that extra kick, I just say no, and say ok lang ako!

I guess those who couldn't say no end up paying the ultimate price.

All Set and Excited for This Year's Virgin Labfest

I made the mistake of not buying the tickets early for last year's Virgin Labfest so I was greeted with many SOLD OUT signs in my Ticketworld when I did decide to clear up my schedule.  Since the event opens when Wimbledon is in full swing, I've had to choose the dates more carefully so I won't miss any of the major matches.  

Ayun, since ang tagal ko nagdecide, naubusan tuloy ng tickets.

Not gonna happen this year.

This year, I decided to buy tickets after Wimbledon, so everything after July 3 na.  And I decided to buy early so I can see all the sets!  I did not even bother to read who's in or who's out.  I just know they are all going to be good and that some of them will be very interesting to me!

Looking forward to two weekends and some weekdays of great local theater from our new and veteran playwrights!

Ready for 'The Normal Heart'

I failed to watch the run of The Normal Heart last year so it's great to know that they are bringing it to Quezon City at the nearby PETA Theater, just 5 minutes from my house!

I just read through the story without really reading the plot line since I want to be surprised! I don't even know if it's a straight play or a musical!  But I think it's more of a play.

Anyway, from the reviews, I believe that the subject matter is heavy and serious.  Anyhow, I hope I still get to enjoy it.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: Maureen Lee's After the War Is Over

My attraction to the lives of people who lived through World War II continues, as I quickly read through Maureen Lee's After The War is Over.

It is the second book of hers that I've read and she has stuck to the same time zone and type of characters as that other book of hers that I've read.

It's actually a telenovaela-esque type of novel about three women who were close friends in the UK army during World War II and it tells the story of their lives right after the war in 1945 until they become senior citizens in the early 1970s!

That's almost 35 years of three different life stories to digest!

It can be quite a tedious read because there are so many characters as the three women have big families and they also end up having families of their own.

I swear at one point, I did not bother anymore to carefully identify who was who. I just wanted to see the events unravel, especially for my favorite characters.

Just like in an expansive telenovela with so many characters, one would normally just concentrate on the few characters one really cares about.

I also said telenovela-esque because the plot has every event in any writer's bag of tricks - a rape, an unwanted pregnancy, a baby boy given to the best friend, women behaving like Madame Bovary, etc etc. This book could actually work well as a TV miniseries.

There's always something salacious happening at every turn of the page. However, this is not Anna Karenina and there are no philosophical musings of any kind.

It's more like being a voyeur in the lives of people when life meant no gadgets to immediately spread the bad news, and when indiscreet affairs were still considered public scandals.

The theme of friendship and the importance of one's family are the things that make the book interesting, especially for Filipinos who hold these two things close to our hearts.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jaclyn Jose: From Humble Bold Starlet to Cannes Best Actress Awardee

Ma. Isabel Lopez might have upstaged her in the Cannes red carpet, but Jaclyn Jose ends up getting the bigger honor - the Cannes Best Actress award!

She won over two of my favorite actresses, Sonia Braga and Isabelle Huppert, among others, including Kristen Stewart.

At least now, a Filipino actress has something in common with Meryl Streep, who is the usual barometer for acting prowess. Meryl won hers in 1989 in that disturbing Australian movie, A Cry in the Dark.

Jaclyn's journey from that bold starlet in Private Show way back in 1986, to her present achievement is just amazing.

She bared everything in Private Show which was not unusual in the 80s when bomba films were de rigueur. Funny thing is, what I find more memorable in that movie was Gino Antonio. Any gay man who was a teenager in the 80s would know Gino Antonio, charot!

Interesting addition, last year's winner, Rooney Mara, went on to snag an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Carol. Oscar voters have nominated foreign actresses several times before, so with the right PR push in Hollywood, who knows?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Movie Review: Woody Allen's Irrational Man Philosophizes on Vigilante Killing

Woody Allen's Cafe Society opened the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, the same time that I watched his offering for last year, Irrational Man.

Interestingly, our new elected President would find a similar characteristic to the main character in this movie, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a severely depressed hotshot college philosophy professor.

Both of them have no qualms about killing somebody who is a blight on the society. This is basically the central question being posed by this movie - is it ok to get rid of a person who is making life miserable for people around him?

You'll find out what Woody thinks about this in the last scene of the movie but it's a theme he has already explored in his other better movies, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point.

Everyone is in top form in this movie. I especially love how glowing Emma Stone is in her scenes. I enjoyed watching her move from being the flirtatious college student to becoming the moral conscience of the story.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Movie Review: The Sci-fi Love Story Equals is a Dooze

It has seemed that Kristen Stewart has disappeared from public view after that vampire franchise ended, but in fact, she has decided to take the indie route, improving her cred as an actress, and became the first American to win a Cesar Best Supporting Actress award from the French Academy for the movie, Clouds of Sils Maria.

She has a movie out right now here in Manila and it's a sci-fi love story entitled Equals.

It's a sad world though that their future has envisioned for the unfortunate pair of Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart. It's a world where people lived alone, there are no families, and there are no couples since love, sex and intimacy are not allowed.

As to why, I don't know. The sound system in the SM North cinema was so bad and the actors were always whispering, that I could barely hear anything for almost 80% of the conversation time, except when the soundtrack played.

Notwithstanding the sad storyline is the pristine and clean production design and costumes, as everything is in white - in different shades of white, if there is such a thing. Everything is sleek and cold and forbidding.

This is not quite the date movie you'd want to see because I found it too melodramatic and self-flagellating.

Movie Review: The Surprise - As One Contemplates Death, One Finds Love

If you're looking for a unique rom-com date movie this week, the Dutch movie, The Surprise, presents to you, a rather peculiar way of finding your "forever" - that is, if you don't mind reading subtitles.

This is to warn you though that this movie's director, Oscar winner Mike van Diem, does not use the same kilig tactics that the local directors' have used in the two successful local rom-coms, This Time and Just the 3 of Us.

First, the main characters are not a poster-picture pair - and they're not millennials. The movie also starts with the sombre themes of death and suicide, and only brightens up a bit as the movie transitions to boy-meets-girl.

In the end, it's the theme of "love conquers all" that lifts up the movie.

Life does become more meaningful when you find that person you can share your life experiences with.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Alec Dungo: Twinkie Trending

Well, I was checking my labels today and surprisingly, I came across the name of Alec Dungo. I haven't heard of him before and I was surprised to find him trending in my blog.  So the next best thing to do was to search about him.  Found out he is a UST student who regularly joins those pageants and he has hopes of making it into the Pinoy Big Brother Teen Housemate edition, if he is not yet there.  He's cute but a bit slim for my taste.
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John Magaro: One of the Actors in My Soul to Take

John Magaro plays a very crucial role in the movie, My Soul to Take.  He looks a bit younger in that movie, but he still has that disheveled hair look which is perfect for him.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: The Sunday Philosophy Club

To an outsider, it is often difficult to distinguish if one is Scottish, English, Welsh or Irish (for those who come from the Protestant North).

For us, they are all British.

It is only when I started reading Alexander McCall Smith's book on his character Isabel Dalhousie, who is Scottish, based in Edinburgh, did I realize that even if they are British, they are proud Scots as well, with temperaments that are a bit different from their southern fellowmen.

It is always eye-opening when a fiction writer delves on these character studies as well as vivid descriptions of the place, that allows the reader to understand the subtle cultural variances between two groups of people that appear homogeneous to the rest of the world.

Once again, the novel is set Edinburgh, and it's definitely now on my wish list of places to visit in the future! I would love to retrace the steps that Isabel takes as she walks around her favorite city.

Parang I want to borrow nga this style of writing, of using actual street names, and describing actual neighborhoods, this time, supplanted in the more hot and tropical busting city of Metro Manila.

This installment of the Isabel Dalhousie series is more interesting, not only because of the philosophical dilemmas the character presents to the reader, but also because there is a sinister act that happens in the beginning which first, looked like a suicide, but, later on, could possibly be a murder!

That's why I was always turning the page to find out the real score!

Definitely, another agreeable read from Smith!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Geoff Eigenmann: So Cute in an Ipaglaban Mo Episode

I'm watching an episode of Ipaglaban Mo and Geoff Eigenmann is in it.  This is the first time I've seen him act.  Ang cute niya pala LOL!

In fairness, ang ok ng tandem nila with the other actor, I forgot lang the name of his cop partner in this episode.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nick Lashaway: One of the Cuties in My Soul to Take

One thing good about the horror movie, My Soul To Take, is that there were a host of cute guys in the cast, since it's based on an urban legend where the killer comes back to kill the seven kids born during the day he died.  Creepy basis right!?  Well, too bad, Nick Lashaway is one of the guys he had to get rid off!  He's too cute!  But anyway, it's just a slasher movie and this time, there were more boys than girls!
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Johnny Simmons: The Cutie in Jennifer's Body

I was never able to see Jennifer's Body in the theater and too bad I missed it.  It's a bit campy but it's cute and yeah, Megan Fox is uber-sexy there and pretty seductive too!  Anyhow, one of the guys she seduces, and bites lol, is the cute Johnny Simmons, who looks so innocent and geeky and cute!
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JaDine Fans Will Surely Dig this First Time

If you're a JaDine fan or you're just looking for a light movie to escape the killer heat that has hit Metro Manila, the latest offering from this popular love team, offers just the right kilig moments.
The film is G rated, meaning no James Reid abs on display - and the story is pretty simple and uncomplicated. There are no major kontrabidas as the distance and the time spent away from each other have become the token antagonists.
I guess the people behind this love team franchise wanted to get the kids audience into the theater this summer, that's why they made the story simple and not difficult to comprehend, let's say, for a 9-year old JaDine fan.
Well, they were successful as there were kids in the audience I was in and some of the questions they asked were, "Why do dead people need make-up?" (malalaman agad sa first scene) or "Why are they sitting on the floor" (pertaining to a scene in Japan).
No racy stuff. They don't stray too far from the rom-com genre so the token gay character is there, plus the supportive friends - and the wacky family with Freddie Webb and Candy Pangilinan as the standout performers.
There's a bit of homosexuality misunderstanding thrown in towards the end, to give the pair some conflict.
The Japan scenes were beautifully photographed because they filmed in spring and it was immaculately clean everywhere!
This is actually the first film that I've seen of this two and they can act naman pala. However, just like the KathNiel pair, it's often the girls who are more capable of showing emotion, while the guys do what they do best - magpacute - which I think is all their fans want them to do.
Just like the other love teams I've seen in local movies before - Guy and Pip, Sharon and Gabby - they eventually outgrow the relatively shallow expectations of that genre - and move on to make more compelling movies.
Only time will tell if any member of today's love teams du jour will eventually become thespians as they mature.
But for now, this is their bread and butter - so kelangan alagaan.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The New Meaning of 6'2"

This post has an adult slant so if you're a minor or do not like these types of stories, please move on.
I was so excited today because the guy I met in a play last Friday agreed to go out with me!
Dakilang extra lang sya sa play, but his blocking was in my line of sight so, ayun, sa kanya nakatingin lola mo while the play was happening.
He's tall, moreno, kinda looks like the actor Jason Abalos but much taller, not lanky, tama langa ang muscle build. After the play, I told my friend, "You have to introduce me to him! ¡Vamonos!"
He was a bit shy, only 18 pala but stands at 6'2", and has an incredible smile.
So ayun, chika chika, viber viber over the weekend and yun na nga, nakaset ng date today.
Date went smooth and relaxed. He has a great disposition in life, even though ayun, medyo MMK ang buhay niya.
Yun lang, di talaga binibigay ni Lord lahat, kainis!
6'2" nga sya, 6 ang height, 2 Medyo sad.
I won't be surprised though if he comes out in those noontime TV show contests in the future.
It's only a matter of time before a real talent manager spots him.

San to? Gusto ko 'to! Charot!

San to? Gusto ko 'to! Charot!

Mother's Day The Movie: Cliche'd and Unmemorable

This is to remind everyone that before the elections on Monday, Mother's Day sa Sunday ha, kaya call or kiss your Mom, even if magkaiba kayo ng bobotohin!
Well, the Garry Marshall helmed movie Mother's Day brings some of our generation's A-list actresses like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson. However, I feel that with such a weak script, they didn't have much to work on.
The movie has some funny and cute moments but it's really a Hollywood formulaic movie through and through. The movie puts too many things into the whole story - may racism, homophobia, the sexy second wife, the insecure divorced Mom, plus all the travails and troubles of a working single mother.
Yun lang, since the actors are all pleasant to watch, ayun, it's easy to go along for the ride. Yeah, you can bring your Mom to watch this. It's pretty lightweight fare.

The Joy Luck Club: The Most "Motherly" of Mother's Day Movies

Now that it's almost Mother's Day, the movie that I could remember that could best exemplify this special day was the movie version of the novel, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

It was shown here when I was still in college and I remember telling my friend when she asked me how I found the movie, I said "Happy Mother's Day!"

Well, the movie was not promoted to celebrate Mother's Day but since the story was about the complicated relationships between four young Chinese-American women and their immigrant mothers, one can't help saying that, especially when you watch the extreme circumstances these women had to experience just getting out of China, and building a new life in San Francisco.

The book was written in 1989 and in the 80s, China was still under strict Communist rule, so the last scene can really show you how exponential the growth of China was, between 1989 and 2016!

Kasi if that scene was filmed now, it would be totally different in terms of swankiness.

Yun lang, if you plan to watch this movie with your Mom, be sure to bring tissue. Marami kasi syang nakakaiyak na scenes.

Remember, it's a story of four mothers and each of their stories is as dramatic as the other.

Even the daughters' stories are dramatic as well, because of the clash of the conservative Chinese culture with its many rules and the more liberal choices America allows you to make in your life.