FROM THE OFF-CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

 
Oct 07 2014

You know that adage about how you get to know who your real friends are at times in your life when you’re down?

I think It’s one of the more painful truths life will teach you, and oddly, help you to get up and head on towards a different direction. You’d be surprised at who’d actually care or give a damn, but you’d be more surprised with who’d turn a blind side and make you feel like you didn’t even exist. It’s gonna hurt. Heaps. Let the pain sting. Let time numb it down. Then, move on. Try not to look back. But if you find yourself giving in to a quick glance, be #thankful that it happened that way because not only did you get to know who really gave a damn about you - you got to figure out yourself too. <3

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Oct 01 2014

I’ve such fondness for Hong Kong because I was in love the very first time I went there.

The place woke up my spirit and gave it a strong sense of home. Whenever I would visit, when it was time to go home, I always leave with a heavy heart and with tears in my eyes, wishing I could just stay there. What I am witnessing via the internet in how their youth is fighting for what they believe is best for their beloved home is just amazing. No matter what the outcome, I hope it is the best for Hong Kong and the people who live and love there. <3

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Sep 30 2014

Meow.

Gotham’s second episode is one big homage. One minute I am watching a gritty police drama with Jim and Harvey, the next minute I am watching a quirky homage to the 60’s campy series seen through Lili Taylor’s crazy Patti villain sketch, and then there’s the Penguin. The Fish Mooney scenes (Jada is heaven-sent to this show) are highly reminiscent of the 90’s cartoon series’ dark and sinister air. Even the score to Camren Bicondova’s pretty much an homage to Danny Elfman’s “Batman Returns” score. Three things that kinda weird me out still are the mashup with the continuities, the obscurity of the setting’s general timeframe, and the shifting tone of the show. Gotham, for all intents and purposes is still trying to find its identity, I’d say. They can do all the soul-searching they want, as long as they keep it interesting. Or till they claw my eyes out.

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Sep 28 2014

"I bet you the boyfriend did it."

"How To Get Away With Murder" feels like a cross between "Pretty Little Liars", "Felicity", "The Practice" with a dash of Shonda Rhimes’ let’s-make-‘em-talk-it-out-more-more-some-more. I suppose having a storyline revolve around one dead person per season is more sustainable than one dead person at the start of every episode (God I miss "Six Feet Under"). If the show ends up a smash, I wonder if they will evolve into a "Survivor" kinda twist and kill off every other member of the main cast. Or not. God I hope not. So just like the line that ended the first episode, "I guess we’ll see."

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Sep 27 2014

Scary with substance is always scarier.

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I got to see newcomer Percival Intalan’s obra and I loved it. Horror stories dealing with family matters always gets me. Personally, nothing is more frightening than the realities behind the atrocities we can visually bear witness to. In this case, Dementia is a classic case of what lies beneath. I’m nearly all praises with this scarer, from the cast, music, and overall plot development and delivery.

The cast was a powerhouse, led by Ms. Nora Aunor, who dominated the screen with lines you can count with your fingers and her signature makuha ka sa tingin (letting her eyes say it all) acting. This film is also Bing Loyzaga’s most notable performance of late. I have a penchant for seeing 80’s and 90’s local stars who have slewed what they’ve learned about acting then and going for a more subdued approach. Of course, She, no less, becomes the film’s big echoing blood-curdling scream. Jasmine Curtis-Smith is not just another pretty face. She can act. Her role fit her well, but I would love for her to study more Filipino so she can eventually play roles that won’t cop her out by being balik-bayan. Chynna Ortaleza should definitely get more roles like this. She totally nailed the kept-chained-to-the-bed-up-in-the-room crazy. Her face has the capacity to be different kinds of beautiful, and even when playing psychotic or ghostly, she still remained that. Beautiful. The first time I saw Althea Vega was from last year’s Metro Manila and the first thing I said to myself was, this is one beautiful Filipina actress who knows how to act. Reminiscent of Tetchie Agabayani’s stunning looks, I couldn’t have thought of anyone else to play the young Nora Aunor. Growing up, Lou Veloso was one of those actors who have always been present in almost all the local productions I have seen as a villain, crazy guy, minion, or some weird side role that becomes the punchline in a joke (or two) in whichever he stars in. But I guess it was a very Filipino thing to see him age and take on more sincere and warm roles. It’s utterly refreshing. Yul Servo, for me, stood out like a sore thumb. The role was a bit sophisticated for him. He plays husband to Bing and father to Jasmine. Right. I’m sorry, Yul. I know you can act, but this role just didn’t fit you. And as for Jeric Gonzales, well, I just feel all cougar-y whenever he was on screen. More please.

The star of the film was undoubtedly Batanes. It was pretty much a show reel of touristy proportions. And somehow, I didn’t mind. It played a believably eerie place to grow up in with the scarcity of people, the vastness of the spaces, and the sense of underdevelopment. This part of the country is one of those rare places I’d love to have my photo taken, left unfiltered with just natural lighting. Absolutely stunning.

Music and sound design both defined the boundaries of eerie and mystery. The airy vocals covered the open empty spaces of the location and the plot. The moments it tried to work so hard were forgivable. It is a horror movie after all, so it was inevitable to get a stinger like shocker every few scenes. But overall, the film has a very original score that works.

The film has its scary moments, the best being Jasmine’s stairs scene as the when she was left all alone. When an arm, out of nowhere, reaches out to touch her hair, I was like, I think that has happened to me before. And it was suddenly much scarier than I thought. There were several instances where certain parts of the film were five beats too long, or unnecessary, but they were forgivable because the scenes were beautifully framed. Ultimately, supernatural elements aside, it was getting to know Nora’s character that really crept up my back. Her tell-all scene is one for the books. You will feel something for her, whatever it is, I leave it up to you.

So go watch this.

1 note  /  

Sep 26 2014

If only.

If only I can tire myself to wake up from sleep like how I tire my body to sleep after a long day. Waking up is such a chore. It’s a reset but not quite a reset. More like a save file before continuing whatever level you’re moving on from the previous day. And the night, the sleep, a mere portal to a bonus level to collect much needed rest. Up up down down left right left right B A B A select start.

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Sep 24 2014

Nine years ago.

You won’t see Paris in my eyes. Nor Amsterdam, nor Prague. When the sun touches my skin, I won’t glisten like a calm Thames in September. Nor will my breath be anywhere as cool as a breeze from the Alps. Nor my sigh. You won’t taste dark chocolates from my lips. Nor would you feel thermal warmth from my hugs against a winter chill. My philosophies aren’t from a corner coffee shop discourse with learned street folk, familiar with Brecht and Jung, and policies of trade, religion and governance. Nor am I as busy as a Hong Kong train station station on a Monday morning. I’m nothing as spectacular rich, and deep as the Great Barrier Reef. Nor will be as warm as the next smile from the flight attendant or seatmate on your next flight. But that doesn’t matter. You won’t see Paris in my eyes.

You won’t even see me.

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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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