FROM THE OFF-CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

 
Jul 26 2014

The 12 Labors on “Hercules” (good, bad, and well, every other thing I noticed).

1. Substandard props. You know, push came to shove, they could’ve just enhanced some props digitally. Watch his club.

2. Set design. Films like this would be a set designers dream project. Period and with the (ideally) right amount of massiveness to make it one for the books. It felt like they borrowed the retired sets from Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

3. POV. The story explores a humanized understanding of how Hercules could’ve probably existed back in his time. This I really liked. This premise alone made watching the movie a joy.

4. Rufus Sewell. The chatty sharpshooter who fancies the use of knives and daggers. Those eyes. Goodness.

5. Ingrid Berdal. She reminded me a lot of Nicole Kidman. One of my faces on the big screen. I wish they expounded a bit more on her background. Just a bit more. Amazons and bondage. Maybe that could be an idea for a sequel if “50 Shades…” makes it really big. #fortheboys

6. Is it just me or is Joseph Fiennes’ face getting longer as he grows older?

7. Tydeus. He simply was the most adorable sidekick. He, for me, was the heart of this band of merry mercenaries.

8. I think Reece Ritchie is handsome. I’d like to see him with more meat.

9. Ian McShane’s take on the perpetually high Amphiaraus brought in most of the laughs.

10. Tobias Santelmann, who played Rhesus, is one beautiful man. Wish he had more screen time.

11. Music. The score was so uninspired. It’s like they produced the materials separately, without informing the other team and then just retro-fitted it for timing. That or they ran out of budget for good scores and purchased rights to canned music. Seriously. If this movie was the Titanic, its music is the iceberg.

12. The interpretations of mythical beasts. Really nice. At a time when other armies were just harnessing domesticating animals, our glorified look at mythology takes a side step and this film shows us how (possibly) big Hercules was or also how he made it that big.

It’s there. The core of them film is its gem. It could’ve been polished some more. But it is watchable to say the least. And I’d say enjoyable for a weekend movie to push it further. Go watch it.

Why do period films around the ancient times always have the actors speak with a British accent or derivative of such? I am pretty sure their accent would’ve been different. They should have at least approximated English with Mediterranean accents. Seriously would’ve been more believable.

  /  

Jul 21 2014

I should be sleeping.

I should be sleeping. But my mind is in a frolic. A frenzy. And the fever is caressing me with a welcome warmth. The cold has overstayed its welcome. Now anything hot will do. Is it desperation? Is it depression? Is it devastation?

I should be sleeping. But the conversation is getting louder. With you. With me. In my head. There is laughter. There are tears. And the echo of the thrill is a giddy blink from the phone relaying your reply. Where every word is synonymous to maybe with a dash of hope.

I should be sleeping. But the rain is keeping me company. The somber pitter . The patient patter. The moments they count until I hear from you. Until I read from you. The rhythm of the alert comes through like breath long held. It makes me smile. It makes me scared.

I should be sleeping. But the world is wide awake. And the dreams can wait. Work in progress. Perfection comes and takes shape and it’s not perfect. But it makes sense. You make sense. This is real. I hope it is.

I should be sleeping. You should be sleeping. Maybe we’ll share a dream. Maybe we’ll be together. Maybe we’ll hold each other. Maybe it could be forever. And my eyelids fall prey to hope. A weary surrender.

I should be sleeping.

1 note  /  

May 01 2014

DNA test please…

It’s always scary when you realize from which parent you got which trait. All hope that some then-wayward-now-multi-billionaire would knock at our door claiming to be my real parent flies out the window, along with the dramatic reunion and all that press and media coverage, not to mention prospective movie or network rights to the story’s adaptation, book deals, appearances and other high-value marketing tool to magnify this, drops on your shoulder like bird poo. Shit.

  /  

+

"The Amazing Spier-Man 2: Rise of Electro" or so the title says…

What did I just see? I knew I was in for a familiar Marvel icon, but several elements made me feel like I hardly know the old webhead I grew up with. It was like Spider-Man meets Harry Potter meets Iron Man meets The Conjuring meets Love Story. The film was good and bad at the same time. Good because when it stuck to the known comic material, it was done really well. Bad because when it tried to be modern, you wish it’d go back to classic Spidey dogma (which it would, perhaps to ground the story). Oddly, this film felt more like a part 1, while the first one felt more like a prequel. In the end, I had this feeling that Tony Stark was gonna come out…

But without further delay, here are my 10 Reasons why you should check out The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro! (WARNING: May or may not contain spoilers! You have been warned! Though I will try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.)

10) Bromance. The Peter and Harry friendship climbs to new heights!

9) Andrew Garfield shirtless. Though he may not be as ripped as when Tobey wore the red mask, he is still way hotter and way better looking than Mr. Maguire (whom, to this day, I firmly believe was a grave miscast.)

8) Innovative web-slinging camera shots. I thought I saw it all with the last trilogy, but Marc Webb’s more dynamic take on showing how Spidey swings around the buildings and busy streets of New York is really quite a visual spectacle.

7) The score. Particularly, Electro’s theme. It was quirky and memorable, but not LSS material. Despite that, it gave the film a soft lead-in to his sinister transition.

6) That moment when Peter looks at Gwen as she tells him to stop looking at her with his brown eyes. Laying down ground rules for any break-up is a daunting task as is, but imagine doing it while being stared at like that. Whew!

5) Electro. I get it, he’s black. He isn’t the wimpy star-masked villain form the main Marvel continuity. I think he could have been more awesome. Somewhere out there, I can hear Catwoman from Batman Returns asking for her origin back. I also hear Dr. Manhattan ranting about originality. Here’s an idea: if you wanna be a super-villain, choose an animal that would best represent your evil schemes and let it bite you as you die.

4) The first fight scene at the start of the film that oddly, doesn’t involve Spider-Man.

3) How Spider-Man says I love you to Gwen. Seriously.

2) Gwen Stacy. At the start of this franchise, I didn’t feel strongly for Emma Stone. But I am glad they stayed close to the true Gwen Stacy heritage. That’s all I am saying.

1) Sally Field stole the show with her “You’re my boy.” scene. That for me was the heart of this film.

At the end of it all, no matter how Spider-Man’s story is re-invented or re-interpreted, it’s still a coming of age story of a boy growing up to his responsibilities and the world around him, and the parents who shape his greatness, even if they don’t want him to grow up. It’s a story we all can relate to. And it’s a story that will endure as long as families exist.

For the fan, it’s a must-see. For a weekend watcher, it delivers. For the critical viewer, it felt underdeveloped. But we move on. And as how Aunt May puts it in the end of the film, “I’m gonna take one last look, and I’m gonna put it where it belongs.”

  /  

Feb 25 2014

So, what kind of guys do you like, Ronan?

I like guys who know what they want and will do what it takes to get them. I like guys who like braving themselves out of their comfort zones, even just every once in a while. I like guys who know how to take care of themselves. I like guys with ambition, vision, and determination. I like guys who can level with me in conversation. I like guys who like to touch me, appropriately or not. I like guys who can tell me that I am doing something wrong and will do what it takes to make me understand it and learn from it even if I hate him for it. I like guys who can bear my sassy I like guys who are rational, organized, and who are innately boring. I like guys who don’t mind being pushed. I like guys who know how to understand me, especially when I don’t understand myself - hopefully with nice powerful arms. A good chest to rest on is also nice. And no chicken legs please. I like guys with bright round eyes that can tell details of their life one squint at a time. Athletic guys are a plus. I like guys with good endurance. It shows that they can keep up with me. I like guys who can like me. There aren’t many. But I know they’re out there. One of these days, I’ll get one. Or maybe one of them will get me.

  /  

Feb 06 2014

There were two accidents that happened in my life.

The first happened in 1987. The second in 1991. The third, if I count my human weakness to fall in love, happened in 2004. In all cases, I’ve learned to rely on no one else but myself to pick up the pieces and move on. Because no matter how hard or pleasant things get, there will be no one but myself who will side with me unconditionally. At first I didn’t want to believe. To this day, I pray that I am wrong, but all things said and done, it’s really a one-man show for me, from here on out.

And I cannot wait to get out.

1 note  /  

Nov 11 2013

If you could turn back time, would you?

Regret would probably be the first thing that comes to mind with such a title. Then there’s the curious what-if that would have peeked through the blank wonder we have no idea of. How many forks along the timeline would you have reviewed? Do you think changing one of them would have stopped you from dying your hair red today? Or by choosing to go with the salad instead of the steak, think your waistline would still be attractive? I wish I could turn back time, but not to change things. I wanna go back in time to find those happy places and loop myself in a limbo of pure worry-free contentment. And rot in its bowels, as far away from what hurts today as possible. Coincidentally, if I cannot travel back in time, I would like to fast-forward the trying moments that are ongoing. Move forward to the outcome, live the result, melt away the experience. Right now, I’d say I’m weakest with wiling the time away. I wish existence wasn’t a linear trap we’re forced to live out. Maybe phasing in and out of the past or the future isn’t the answer. Sometimes, I think there’s no answer as we are forced to spend time throughout the now. Maybe a time-out would be a better offset. Sometimes when I sleep, I’d sleep so hard I’d wake up and the sad things are over. Then there are days I’d sleep, so hard, and wish I’d never have to wake up. Goodnight.

  /  

Nov 01 2013
+

Why did Halloween end up boring the fuck out if me?

There could’ve been so many parties and so many ways to spice them up, but I guess we had different intentions. Social or otherwise.

  /  

+

When do you stop?

Am I being reported and guaged to a guy who has a different boytoy whenever we meet?

Sigh.

  /  

Sep 12 2013
A badly written film, no matter how good the intent, is a badly written film. I came in the theater looking forward to liking #Lihis, but the inconsistencies in dialogue, story flow, cinematography, direction, and canned acting from its main characters make it nearly unbearable to watch, more so enjoy.The film’s sole saving grace was Raquel Villavicencio. The scene where she was being interviewed on video should have been the focal point of the film’s storytelling. Ms. Villavicencio’s lines were so rich in context, and her raw performance was able to convey this very clearly and sincerely.I won’t lie. Jay Cuenca’s intimate scenes with Joem Bascon electrifies. Its savage rawness and courage to show so much (could still be improved) really delivered. But outside, when they get into character, oddly, their characters drift into a limbo of singsong acting, stoic stares that I'm sure try to mean something, but remained disconnected from the story. I wanted to sympathize with them, but I just can’t. At best, the depiction of their romance was a laughable stereotype of what you’d see stereotyped straight people do in most movies. Trivial.Lovi Poe played a believable young Gloria Diaz. But her performance was nothing that tried to be stellar. She can do so much better. Projects like this helps build her as a capable actress. Gloria Diaz on the other hand, simply belonged in another dimension. But if you put into context being a rebel for a communist faction, a Church volunteer, a member of the fact finding committee investigating an entire village’s massacre, being left by a husband for another man, and eventually being a fashion editor in a beauty magazine years after all the drama, her line “You don’t understand me!” says it all.Lihis came into local mainstream awareness thanks to the hype it got for releasing stills from the provocative scenes of the two leading men. And to a good extent, it provoked. The film got my attention, as well as the other peoples’, those looking at entertaining the next wave of openmindness in local media. But sadly, it doesn’t live up to what shows like “My Husband’s Lover” was able to push into the Filipino Pop culture.In the end, it’s a story of a woman, choosing not to move on, believing what she wanted to believe, and living with that choice. Before you even attempt to watch it, #moveon.

A badly written film, no matter how good the intent, is a badly written film. I came in the theater looking forward to liking #Lihis, but the inconsistencies in dialogue, story flow, cinematography, direction, and canned acting from its main characters make it nearly unbearable to watch, more so enjoy.

The film’s sole saving grace was Raquel Villavicencio. The scene where she was being interviewed on video should have been the focal point of the film’s storytelling. Ms. Villavicencio’s lines were so rich in context, and her raw performance was able to convey this very clearly and sincerely.

I won’t lie. Jay Cuenca’s intimate scenes with Joem Bascon electrifies. Its savage rawness and courage to show so much (could still be improved) really delivered. But outside, when they get into character, oddly, their characters drift into a limbo of singsong acting, stoic stares that I'm sure try to mean something, but remained disconnected from the story. I wanted to sympathize with them, but I just can’t. At best, the depiction of their romance was a laughable stereotype of what you’d see stereotyped straight people do in most movies. Trivial.

Lovi Poe played a believable young Gloria Diaz. But her performance was nothing that tried to be stellar. She can do so much better. Projects like this helps build her as a capable actress. Gloria Diaz on the other hand, simply belonged in another dimension. But if you put into context being a rebel for a communist faction, a Church volunteer, a member of the fact finding committee investigating an entire village’s massacre, being left by a husband for another man, and eventually being a fashion editor in a beauty magazine years after all the drama, her line “You don’t understand me!” says it all.

Lihis came into local mainstream awareness thanks to the hype it got for releasing stills from the provocative scenes of the two leading men. And to a good extent, it provoked. The film got my attention, as well as the other peoples’, those looking at entertaining the next wave of openmindness in local media. But sadly, it doesn’t live up to what shows like “My Husband’s Lover” was able to push into the Filipino Pop culture.

In the end, it’s a story of a woman, choosing not to move on, believing what she wanted to believe, and living with that choice. Before you even attempt to watch it, #moveon.

  /  

Sep 02 2013

Ten reasons why you shouldn’t miss Erik Matti’s obra.

10. Leo Martinez played sinister down pat.

9. Shaina Magdayao’s accurate rich girl political daughter portrayal and daring scene.

8. Niño Muhlach.

7. Gerald Anderson in his dirtiest role so far.

6. William Martinez was lost in character.

5. Rosanna Roces’ gripping cameo.

4. Piolo Pascual takes the passenger seat and his shirt off. Twice.

3. Finally, a smart portrayal of our country’s political and social structures, cycles, and traps.

2. It’s Joel Torres’ comeback movie.

1. Joey Marquez’s career redefining performance.

Whatever you do, do not miss it. #OnTheJob #OTJ

  /  

+

Whatever it takes.

"On The Job" is a story about #succession. It’s about the deep-rooted political cycles and traps that reflects our society today, and it just so happens to have an amazing cast that plays out this story all too well. The film tells us of the story of two young men being groomed to take the place of their superiors Piolo an Gerald, both belonging to opposite sides of the law.

Piolo tells the tragedy of the road least travelled, while Gerald takes on the tragedy of ambition. Piolo is being handled by his father-in-law, Michael de Mesa who lets him in on the dirty side of politics. Gerald is mentored by Joel Torre, who serves as his father figure. Piolo lived with principles and ideals aligned with righteousness and hesitated much in getting involved with Michael de Mesa. Gerald was the embodiment of eager - to earn more, to rise above being a back-up, to get free and settle down. Piolo was tied down by the law. Gerald had freedom behind bars.

In the thick of the drama, Joey Marquez played the role of an aged cop who was left behind the ranks. Unlike the big political players, Michael de Mesa and Leo Martinez, Joey belongs on the right side of the law - dedicated in upholding the law and his society, and desperately holding on to his family and his meager income, catching small fish in the hopes of finally cracking the system that would link Leo Martinez with organized crime. There’s that heartbreaking scene where he tries to arrest his drug addict/pusher son, JM de Guzman, that really deserves praise. He finally gets that break in the puzzle when his old partner finally breaks silence. Thus leading to the frenzy of the climax. And as with most plots, when characters find out the premise, they start dying. Or are taken out.

The film had a lot of interesting visuals, but the most resonating one was the train chase sequence. It spoke about generations and played as the metaphor of hope and resistance. Piolo chases after Gerald on the MRT2 line, current and well-lit, while Joey Marquez runs after Joel Torre in dark and grimy a train graveyard. There’s hope and there’s greed. One is stronger than the other, or are they just the same and only the lighting changes? 

Rich or poor, the film’s biggest traitors are the beautiful women. They really get personal. Borrowing from my friend Dan Tesoro, the film has no good guys, you just root for whoever is the victim of whatever circumstance. Surprisingly, the film’s best performances apart from the leads, came from the cameos. Rosanna Roces owned the scene the camera quickly panned across their lives. Niño Muhlach should have more roles like this. Gritty is good for him. I had trouble finding William Martinez who was really lost in his character. Vivian Velez reminded me of Brigitte Lin from Wong Kar-wai’s “Chungking Express”.

"On The Job" is a story about succession. It could have ended several plot details earlier, but it just doesn’t. And yet, I didn’t mind. Despite the tragedies that happened, each character is succeeded by an idea that refuses to die. One is freedom, the other is greed. Freedom is just a line that separates truth from reality, and people will do what it takes to succeed.

The film reminded me of a discussion with my then-boss, Marlon Rivera, about succession planning, where the running joke for us ambitious then-juniors went something like “Gusto mo ma-promote? Hintayin mo mamatay boss mo.” (Do you want to get promoted? Just wait for your boss to die.)

"On The Job" is about succession. It succeeds in telling us a story about Filipinos through what we see and hear everyday, as we swallow a bit of guilt just for being who we are and who we have to be. And if this film is an indication of the film industry’s own succession, I can proudly say that we are in very good hands.

  /  

Aug 21 2013

"Look what she made me do."

It felt like a roller coaster ride was about to start. You could hear the teens in line gasping after buying their tickets. And as soon as people took to their seats, the chattering slowly died down until the lights went out, then the final gasps from the audience settled into the opening credits. There was this electricity from the viewers that stayed in the silence, waiting to surge at the first instance of terror.

"The Conjuring" was this carnival’s new attraction. And the viewers are lining up in hordes. I guess the more you watch it with, you get a stronger false sense of security that makes the crowd, well, braver. You don’t watch movies like this for the plot. You walk in knowing that scary shit is gonna happen, and you’re just in it for the whole experience. The film is a thrill that runs you around all-over with the chase of terror that you see. Or you don’t. Or you don’t see yet, but you wish you saw. Or not. Clap-clap.

There are a lot of technical elements int he film that really immerses you in what’s going on, most notable of which was the camera work. It was amazing. It switched from different styles without making you feel dizzy and didn’t treat the scenes, especially the most shocking ones, horrifyingly trivial. The editing was superb. The way the scenes were sliced was a perfect marriage with the camera work. Then there’s the sound. Beautiful score and sound design at the Dolby Atmos made the details crawl up your skin. Seriously eerie knocking and creaking at home will probably make my head turn twice. And mirrors? Jeez, the film strategically placed the mirrors so well! For a leitmotif, it’s done really well. Clap-clap.

So how scary was it? Surprisingly, I found it more bearable than what I’m used to. And I’m not that big on horror (just a bit). But it won’t make me sleep with the lights on. Maybe not brush my teeth in front of a mirror at night for maybe three days. Maybe it’s just hard to supernaturally scare me after growing up to local news documentaries on possessions of schoolgirls in provinces, haunted houses, and ghost stories that year-in and year-out star the Halloween TV networks. Unless you’re Korean or Japanese. Clap-clap.

It’s scary, but the you can easily get over the scare with a good joke or sitcom after. My dear friend, Dadang, prepared for this by watching The Evil Dead remake last night. And it did her good. As for me, I really wanted to catch it midday-ish. At least, Id’ have daylight to turn to as soon as I step out of the theatre. So we caught the 1:45pm screening. Sometime in the middle, I checked my mobile phone after it vibrated and saw 3:07pm on my screen. Still all in all, it’s an experience horror fans shouldn’t miss. Slow clap-clap.

  /  

Aug 11 2013

Budget kills demigods too.

As much as I wasn’t a big fan of the first Percy Jackson silverscreen adaptation, the second one had more heart and ambition, but the obvious lack of budget stifled a possible bigger box-office titan for this franchise.

Special effects suffered the most. Kids might be able to let go of the rough edges between actual footage and visual flare, but those who couldn’t were stuck in SFX Tartarus. I liked how the kids have “grown up” a bit. But production could’ve been kinder by following a tight yearly run, just like how the Potter series ran. The characters from the book were memorable, but the actors, meh.

I’ve said this before, the books were a more enjoyable journey to take. They let you play with your imagination more than how budget limits Hollywood films’ creativity. The story just comes more to life. More so if you read them as a Greek mythology junkie. Personally, I think the Percy Jackson series would’ve been better as a TV show. Maybe in ten years, we can have a better book to TV adaptation.

If you’re looking for a weekend adventure to watch, go support the Gilas (FIBA). This movie, you can guiltlessly miss. Try to catch it instead a few months from now on cable.

  /  

Page 1 of 33