FROM THE OFF-CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

 
Aug 24 2014
Aug 21 2014

Samurai X returns!

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno once again brings back this generation’s favorite red head samurai on the big screen. It was such a delight to see our beloved group of protagonist return and it was such a thrill to see the new slew of villains come to life. To most fans, this is the saga that truly defines this hero. For non-fans or those not familiar with the show, it’s like watching Nolan’s second Batman film, Tarantino’s Kill Bill, with samurais and ninjas. Yes ninjas. As always, here’s my list of ten reasons why you shouldn’t miss this movie.

10) This would be a production designer’s dream project. The sets, the props, the costumes, had a very authentic feel with respect to the era and the anime it was based on.

9) Sound design. Being in Japanese, one could not help but draw initial focus on the copy flashing on the screen and reading it fast enough so the eyes can then wander around the visuals. When I am reading, my ears served as my eyes and every sound they made mattered. From the swords’ metallic glints to the chatter of the crowds, the richness in detail matched from what you can see to what you can hear without overwhelming you.

8) The pacing. Being an in-between film, this sequel took enough time to reconnect with the original characters and still had enough time to introduce and build on new characters, giving them enough momentum to be watched out for as the story progresses.

7) Kathryn Bernardo. Gotcha. Honestly, Emi Takei, or Miss Kaoru, and Kathryn are such dead ringers!

6) Cho The Sword Hunter makes me want to bleach my hair and wear thin eyeliner around my eyes while I do crazy facial expressions. And also carry two swords.

5) Saito. Or Yōsuke Eguchi. Yes. He was the reason I wanted to watch the first film. *swoon*

4) Shishio. This movie basically sets him up. But his ruthlessness is scene within the first 10 minutes of the film. I cannot wait to see him go all out in the finale (which happens this September).

3) Sojiro. He was one of my favorite antagonists in the series because of his seemingly emotionless facade, that despite being depicted as a man of few words, his actions says everything he needs to say. As if violence were imbued with a sense of innocence, Ryunosuke Kamiki really does so much justice in giving life to him. And yeah, there’s that fight scene…

2) Kenshin. Takeru Satoh still gives an amazing performance as Battosai! The way he shifts from light-hearted, funny, to serious, and dangerous really made Kenshin human.

1) Aoshi. For me, I think he stole the film’s underlying plot. While all eyes were set on Shishio and his grand scheme to take down the new government, Aoshi’s mysterious appearance and origin story were just two seeds I absolutely can’t wait to see in the third instalment. Makes me wanna grow my hair out again and give it a hint of blue.

Of course, you don’t go into a samurai film expecting mediocre fight scenes. The swordplay were beautifully brought to life - from one on one battles, to the Kyoto street war. Absolutely beautiful. Also worth noting is the film’s fantastic score that really resonated with every frame and sequence.

I am gonna watch it again. This time, focusing solely on the visuals, since I pretty much know the copy on the subtitles. Do not miss it.

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Aug 07 2014

A redneck just commented on a photo of me saying “Gross”.

He was a complete stranger. Hopefully the next breeze he breathes from grants him self-awareness, a sense of respect, and an idea that there is a bigger picture to see and understand, and that there’s so much more to life than interbreeding and proliferating hairy backs and noses. At least he spelled “Gross” correctly. Probably perfected it after years of looking at the mirror. No offense. I actually mean well.

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Jul 31 2014

Ten reasons why you should not miss “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

10. Nova Corps. Wasn’t a big fan of the book and its incarnation, but its film interpretation works for me. Yes! And I kinda wanna see more of them! Maybe a TV series spinoff Marvel?

9. The Kyln. Since Marvel introduced their specialized prisons, I’ve been curious to see how they’d pull it off in the big screen. The inside of the Kyln reminded me of the scorched planet prison Vin Diesel once escaped from in that other trilogy.

8. Celestials. Props if you can name the Celestial they showed in the story. But seriously this is digging deeper into the Marvel creation mythos.

7. Nebula. She started as an annoying bitch. And ultimately lives up to being a total badass. As she should be in the comics. You won’t forget her that easily.

6. Zoe Saldana. Man, this actress proves there’s a career in being a woman of color! Turn her screen blue or green, she’s gonna be a blockbuster! She should go play She-Hulk too!

5. Nostalgia. The film uses several elements to serve as an anchor for Quill’s humanity. The Walkman. The soundtrack. And yes, even Quill’s brilliant world-saving plan. 80’s kids would get a lot of them.

4. Thanos. ‘Nuff said.

3. Chris Pratt. Yes, this is the part it gets gay. Mwahahahahahahaha!

2. Rocket and Drax. To me, they were the most human in the group. Extremes, but together, they balanced out.

1. Groot. <3

It’s been a long time since I last saw a movie that I didn’t want to change. There was no element in this film that I would like to revise. It’s also the first movie that I’ve heard my name mentioned several times in fear. I’m just used to it being mentioned a lot in real life is all.

Do. Not. Miss. It.

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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.

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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.

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"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.”

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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.

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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.

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Nov 01 2013
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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.

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When do you stop?

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

Sigh.

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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&#8217;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&#8217;s storytelling. Ms. Villavicencio&#8217;s lines were so rich in context, and her raw performance was able to convey this very clearly and sincerely.I won&#8217;t lie. Jay Cuenca&#8217;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&#8217;t. At best, the depiction of their romance was a laughable stereotype of what you&#8217;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&#8217;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 &#8220;You don&#8217;t understand me!&#8221; 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&#8217;, those looking at entertaining the next wave of openmindness in local media. But sadly, it doesn&#8217;t live up to what shows like &#8220;My Husband&#8217;s Lover&#8221; was able to push into the Filipino Pop culture.In the end, it&#8217;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.

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