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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!

Nurturing My Interest in Street Photography

t was in one of the photography exhibits of Henri-Cartier Bresson and Robert Doisneau in Alliance Francaise Singapore where I was introduced to the concept of street photography - as those two are the titans of that style of photography.
It's one of the skills I want to learn since I'm fed up with taking my own selfies everytime I travel. Sometimes I want to freeze a certain moment in time during my travels and remember it through a candid photograph.
There were many photos in this exhibition in Solaire from two local street photographers. Their pictures caught my eye because some of the images were of my beloved Hong Kong - and seeing certain images of that city brings back a lot of good memories!
I will certainly do this on my next travel, if it's not a tennis meet or an art exhibition. I just want to wander the streets and check the people out. I don't think I have the eye for it but we all see the world in different ways, and I know I do see the world differently from most people.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Cute Boys of '2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten' - Movie Review

While my straight male millennial friends in FB and Twitter have been raving about how pretty Emma Watson is in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, I can only react with a raised left eyebrow and say "Di rin kami patatalo mga gurls noh?"
There is a small local indie movie showing right now, which is tailored fit for those who love goodlooking boys and it's entitled 2 Cool2 Be Forgotten.
I don't know these guys much since I don't watch local TV masyado but they're very good actors and for gay men and straight women who love twinkies - hmmmm......don't miss this one, because every boy gets to take his clothes off! And I mean, everything off!
There's a masturbation scene and a shower scene so, stuff that any man - gay or straight goes through in his sexual awakening.
Ano pa ang silbi ng R-18 na rating kung icecensor pa, di ba?
(Spoiler alert, go on at your own risk.)
Anyhow, this is still an indie movie, so meaning - depressing ang story - so be prepared to leave the moviehouse with a - "what happened there?" look. Translation - may mamamatay!
The movie starts off nice and breezy and I kinda liked it until things started getting sinister towards the third act. I wonder why these boys don't have any gigs on local TV since they can act better than some of the main draw actors.
I guess the two Fil-Am guys have to polish their Tagalog. Khalil Ramos is just amazing! It's really his character's journey - his sexual awakening baga.
I do find his character very lucky since he found his sexual awakening in high school. I was a nun in high school! I thought people f****d wearing bathing suits! This was during the Medieval Ages when there was no porn in our phones.
His journey ends with tragedy though - and with the lahar-stricken Pampanga landscape as a backdrop - it's hard not to leave the moviehouse with a heavy heart.

Manuscript Found in Accra: My Book Review

After reading my friend Eden's gift to me, Paulo Coelho's The Spy, I discovered that he had copies of most of his books in our school library so I decided to read this one next - which I finished in just about an hour or two.
I love the premise that he presented in the beginning - it's so seductive and alluring - lost Egyptian papyruses - only to be found centuries later.
Anyhow, for the longest time,I have always avoided self-help books, preferring actual fiction and celebrities I like and many inspiring movies to be my main life guiders - aside from the Bible and what my parents taught me.
And then middle age arrives and while I was reading this, I was also simultaneously reading Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink' and a book on how to harness your hidden genius! I feel like I'm 18 years old again, singing U2's classic "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".
Not everything in this book applies to me though. I love what he wrote about love, and failure - and I agree to most of it. This is a book you can read during Holy Week, when you want to make muni-muni in your life. I will keep a copy close to me just in case that urge arrives.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review: Jesus in the Battlefield

I am just happy that Mel Gibson is back in form, and that the industry has welcomed him back by virtue of his Oscar nomination for Best Director.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of the most violent films I've seen and the only other director who can shoot war scenes as realistic, visceral and surreal like this is Steven Spielberg.
I was sitting four rows from the screen and the second half of the movie - which is all in the battlefield - played out to me like a terrifying nightmare of men being spliced and their guts spilling out of bellies and bullets blowing their brains apart - simply, do not eat during this part of the movie - or you might throw up!
Since I never play video games, I am not used to such levels of violence - and how Mel shot it was just frenetic and relentless and unmerciful. There is nothing sexy or heartwarming about war. It's very brutal.
Well, I won't tell much about the story except that it's set in Okinawa in World War II and both the US and Japan are fighting to get foothold on the island.
The best thing about the movie is Andrew Garfield. This is his 3rd CONSECUTIVE Oscar Best Actor nomination, and this time, he sports an accent and a countenance that is sincere, pure and friendly, it's impossible not to like him in end.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A True Ghost Story About a Baby that was Aborted

My student in Spanish tutorials recounted to me tonight a spine-chilling tale about a baby who was aborted and was flushed down a toilet by his/her young mother. It happened in a house just across us and since then, the elemental, the ghost of the baby, has been restlessly haunting the basement of the house of our neighbor.

I always thought it was automatic for the souls of a baby, whether aborted or not, to become an angel, a cherubim.
Hindi pala.

Apparently, the people living in the house, decided to get a spiritualist since the elemental was getting to be more powerful and more mean-spirited towards them. They were only able to identify the elemental through a white lady. 

Apparently, white ladies are good beings and the white lady that appeared to them wanted the identity of the woman who had the baby aborted known to the family - and that the elemental had to be prayed for - since the soul of the baby could not find its physical body - that piece of bloody sludge (which is apparently, already a human being) - that got stuck in the pipes of the toilet. He said the white lady made everyone in the house hear how the baby was flushed and you could hear how it slid slowly through the pipes - and you could really hear daw the strong thuds here and there - which made the experience so eerie.

And so the girl's identity was revealed to the family living there now - and they know her. However, she lives in the States already.

So, they had to call her, and with the different time zones, it was not easy. And to make matters worse, the whole ritual, had to be done, between the witching hours of 12 midnight and 3AM, because that's when the spirits can be contained. 

The girl has to be told to pray for her baby's soul - so that it remains a good baby - and not turn out to be a sad, very angry and restless soul (which it already had).

In the end, the ritual was a success, but only temporarily, because since there is some negativity in the relationships of the people in the house (apparently, spirit beings can feed on this negativity and transform them from an innocent baby soul, to someone very malevolent!) - that "nice" baby now, may soon go back to its old angry self.

They also don't know how to "free" the soul of the aborted baby, so that it goes to a more peaceful place somehow. But for now, they are counting on everyone's prayers to help this poor baby's soul.