Friday, August 29

All I'm thinking of is this: My last option, as in when I'm really really desperate, is to sign myself up to the Eastern Standard Tribe.

I think I've bumped into too many people speaking in gross accented English at favorite coffee shop corner and I'm just not used to it still. Everytime I run into them, in tribes and speaking very loudly, I cringe.

But if things get out of hand, it's either beat them or join them. You know I don't like that last option.

Thursday, August 28

I need to make a decision in 24 hours about which college to attend for grad studies. I'm toeing the line again. I dropped by the bookstore yesterday, and I ran smack into this Zen book about Changes. It plopped open to Monsieur Proust, who says: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

What the hell does that mean?

Tuesday, August 26

I was eating breakfast in front of the tv last weekend. It was one of them chinovelas. It's the first time I actually came upon and sat thru an entire episode. I liked the part where this guy gave the girl coffee, and it was black. The girl didn't like it because it was bitter. Guy said that people think it's a bad thing, black coffee, because there's no sweetness to it. But if you let it settle in your mouth, you will begin to taste the full flavor of the beans. It's not coffee dulled by sugar and creamer or milk. You get to taste the pain and bitterness of it, and that's what makes drinking coffee an experience.

I rather liked that comparison. I like drinking coffee because it's bitter. Of course there are times when things get too bitter, you moon and long for the little bit of sweetness, the saccharine taste. But nothing too sweet.

Yeah, I think I rather liked that coffee part, the more I think of it.

Thursday, August 21

Mahilig akong pumatay ng tao*

Hindi, joke lang yun. Kasama yun sa character monologue ni Francesca Jose, alyas Keka. I got to watch the movie on its opening day yesterday kasi addict ako and I had to drag my friend all across Megamall just so we could watch it.

I suppose it had to do with the fact that the screening we attended was at 3pm. There were only a handful of people inside the theater. I hate to think that people didn't go because they got word that Katya Santos isn't taking off her clothes in this one. Which is actually better, because then we can focus on the unfolding story onscreen and not wonder whether they had to use special effects to make Katya and the other characters fit on the screen. And then we can be spared of all the jokes about how the director's mother did liposuction on the film's lead.

What I liked about it is the cheesy Donna Cruz song that came with the opening credits. I haven't heard "Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso," in ages, in the same way that I haven't been to church in ages, like since I graduated from grade school. Keka is an 80s fanatic, and she wears really cool tshirts. I like how the camera moves a lot, and the story is not linear. I heard that Gamitan was supposed to be nonlinear but they had it edited for the story to be a cause and effect thing. I like having the beginning, middle and end jumbled up. The movie is not afraid to be cheesy. I had a hoot with that musical production number, as in.

But what I've noticed with Quark Henares movies is that they all have violent endings. Maui Taylor and Jordan Herrera had to chop up the body and stuff them in garbage bags in Gamitan. Maui Taylor and Rica Peralejo had horrible fight scenes and stupid deaths in Hibla. Buti na lang Maui Taylor wasn't in this movie, although Katya Santos still killed several people but I think she got her guy in the end so it's all good.

And yeah, I like the part where Jason was saying that he liked everything about Keka--how she flips her hair, how she laughs, how she's so sweet--then you juxtapose that with Keka giving us the finger. Astig. Hehehe. And also, Keka works in a call center. Aww, I'm starting to run out of quirky jobs to deal with high ennui quotients. Nagawa na nila yung takilyera sa toll booth (Katya Santos in Sukdulan), cloth weaver (Rica Peralejo in Hibla), living breasts which grew a head (Maui Taylor in Gamitan), photographer in jeepneys (Sex Drive). Hm, I might make Katya Santos my bold star of choice, although I've only seen her in 2 movies. It used to be Rica Peralejo, but she doesn't want to go bold now.

Thing I didn't like: Of course Ryan Eigenmann would be the last fratboy Keka would do battle with. I mean, come on, you would expect that from the casting, right?

Go watch Keka, before it disappears and she kills you. I can't give you a coherent review right now, because my brain is swimming in chemicals.
Come on, repeat after me: Everyone's a film geek now. And it's true. You got more people with DVD players, and the noble pirates of Quiapo are providing us with truly sophisticated copies of art house films everywhere. Well of course not all the DVD features are there, but what can you say. It is a fake.

What you'll be missing if you get pirated DVDs is it's built in film school. Yes, Zoolander, there is a film school in there:
If letterboxing is the most obvious element of film-geek culture to be mainstreamed by DVD's, the most important is the audio commentary — the lengthy exegesis that comes, for better or worse, with almost any DVD movie that can still claim a living participant, be it director or cast member. Certainly, the idea of offering a director — who, unless his name is Spielberg or Lucas, almost never gets on "Entertainment Tonight" or the E! channel — the opportunity to reflect on his or her creation makes sense in the information age, with viewers seeking all the facts they can get about a movie.

Such running narrations — once rare, now common — had their start with the laser disc. And the process of providing the best commentary was perfected by Criterion, a company that took as its mission eliciting lengthy interviews with directors and boiling them down into thoughtful, and often staggeringly intense, conversations about filmmaking. Martin Scorsese's comments on the Criterion Collection's laser disc of "Taxi Driver" isn't just an interview; it's a master class, with an intoxicating wealth of raw data and insight into his perspective. The director's explication of just a single scene — Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) lingering in a hallway, while the camera pans from his lonely pay-phone conversation to the forlorn light bulb above — ranges from ruminations on the screenwriter's intentions to Mr. Scorsese's borrowing from the Italian B-picture maestro Mario Bava.

For a time, it seemed that Criterion's output might eliminate the need for film schools altogether, since their essential components, access to films and information about them, were packaged in two-disc sets. (Films released with lots of extra features came in multi-disc sets because a laser disc can't hold as much information as a DVD can.) The Criterion Collection's laser disc presentations were so deluxe that the filmmakers themselves literally signed off on them: the cases included a somber black label with the director's signature and the legend Director Approved Special Edition.

Sunday, August 17

[Ba]Ding, ang bato!

Yan ang dreamgirl na astig talaga. Darna, throw me the bato naman!

I watched the Darna musical this afternoon. Liked the soundtrack. Lots of techno and house music in there. Plus they have those portable panels framing the characters on some important plot points--as an homage I think to Darna's roots in komiks.

Darna kicks ass. I like the nature healer and superhero theme. There's this moment early in the first act where a huge white cloth shone with lights. It's supposed to be a volcano eruption, but seemed to me like they were being invaded by aliens. Darna got her powers because she was abducted. Hehehe. Nah.

Valentina is really a misunderstood character. The other kids made fun of her because she was kalbo. Nah. She was different, and therefore cast out from the normalcy of the neighborhood. Then she got spurned by the crush ng bayan Arman. Valentina suffered a very mean and cruel childhood. That's why you should treat your playmates really well. You never know how they'll turn out when they grow up and grow snakes on their heads. Oh, and there really weren't any moving snakes on Valentina's head.

I think for a Pinay superhero, Darna and Valentina still haven't escaped the patriarchal shit of Pinoy society. I mean, ano ba ang conflict nilang dalawa? Pinag-aagawan nila si Arman. Like hello? I liked Valentina's aria though, and the Boytoys' song about how life is: You have to know how to suck up to the ones who are in power. Ganda at kisig lang ang puhunan nila.

But I liked the music, and those riggers really deserve special thanks. Galing ng timing. And it really must be hell to be hanging up and down those steel rigs the entire two hours.

There was a Darna exhibit on the third floor. My favorite part was the Alternative Darnas from the contest where they photoshop various women and what they would look like if they portrayed Darna. I liked the Assunta de Rossi as Darna picture best, then the "FrankenDarna" with the face of Janna Victoria, the boobs of Geneva Cruz, Mrs Montano's legs and Donita Rose's arms. One of the girls viewing the exhibit stared at the Vilma Santos as Darna pictures. She said, "Ay mukha siyang Baby Darna!"

Of all the recent Darna incarnations, I think Anjanette Abayari made a very good Darna. She can carry a Tamaraw FX on her shoulders. But I'm starting to like the very first Darna Rosa del Rosario. She looked morena enough, but also chinita. And maybe from UP. The Mango Comics incarnation has her in a white hanging shirt and jeans, and although she's probinsyana, she speaks in Taglish. But more than anything, I think Darna should really be morena and kickass and not fight about boys with her childhood playmate. It's like Darna, girl, after fifty years and you're still squabbling over some guy.

I also liked the Darna "tiaras" the kids were wearing. When the President watched the show, and they gave her a Darna tiara which Valentina had to rearrange on her head. [Aside lang ha: She actually reminded me of Prince Hal, and how her rule was an uneasy one. Mutinies not withstanding, hm.] For a moment there, I thought "Buti pa si GMA binigyan ng tiara, kami wala." Considered sneaking out the tiara from the take your picture as Darna standee, but my sanity kicked in.

Catch the show if you still can. It's their last run this weekend. For more Darna goodness, you can get wallpapers and stuff from the Darna musical website or Mango Comics. And if someone out there can tell me where I can get the Darna soundtrack, please give me a holler.
Keka muna

I like the premise and the promise of this movie. Revenge movie na pa-romantic comedy na ewan. Sana it lives up to its promise. Kasi di ba, promises are made to be broken? Kaya sana maayos siyang pelikula.

Astig nga rin pala ang website. It has mini character biographies and the director's bio sounds like fiction but damn, ang kulit. Hehehe. Pero warning nga lang pala, it uses Flash.

I watched Gamitan last week. I like the camera work and the flashy shots in the first part. The story is pretty much like Cruel Intentions but at least the narrative was pretty clear. Plus the campus used in the movie was my high school. It was the same location as Globe's Katrina commercial. I suddenly miss the long catwalks and the fall trees. They should be blooming by now.

Friday, August 15

and now for a different kind of Amelie

She reminds me of Claire Danes, only with stronger features.  Shhh!

Amelie Mauresmo made the tennis headlines in 1999 when she made the semifinals in the Australian open. But came down with all the hullaballoo that goes when you say out loud that you're gay, and Martina Hingis calls you "half a man."

Out Magazine writes: "The old-style gay plotline might have gone something like this: Player comes out, suffers media and public backlash, loses endorsements, but privately triumphs in newfound personal freedom. Actually, the opposite occurred. Mauresmo was mostly embraced by fans (particularly in her home country) who were put off by the insensitivity of her peers; her sponsors stood by her; and she became a huge celebrity almost overnight. But her game and personal life unraveled during the next couple of years. Her ranking fell, her stormy relationship with restaurant owner Sylvie Bourdon dissolved, and she found herself further estranged from her family, who were already upset by her private coming-out to them several months before. She later changed coaches and suffered through various injuries, including career-threatening cartilage damage in her right knee last fall. "

All that tough things when you're 19. Clueless kasi. Ayan tuloy. But now she's 24 and getting better. No. 6 na siya sa ATP rankings. Plus she holds the only distinction of beating both Serena and Venus this season. O di ba, taray ng lola?

Monday, August 11

Ang dream girl ni Jol: Astig, pamatay kung umibig? hehehe. Amelie is not quite Keka though.

Amélie Poulainization

Quite a mouthful to say, but this refers to the emerging cult of Amelie, and the throng of summer tourists who want to visit the Montmartre featured in the film. The centerpiece of this cult is the Cafe des Deux Moulins (not related to the Red Windmill, or Moulin Rouge) where regulars who order the same thing for years mix with Japanese and Dutch tourists with their tourbooks reading about Amelie. The greengrocer is now an upscale place with fruits and baskets and CDs with the songs from the movie and his commentaries about the film.

The words of Elaine Sciolino on the fascination with Amelie, from the audio slide show in The New York Times: "[Amelie] became a fantasy about Paris. A Paris that never was, and probably never would be, but an imaginary and romantic Paris...It's fun and sure it's saccharine and sweet, but gosh, it makes you feel good. And it's nice to have something that makes you feel good."
emo is a return to the power of songwriting?

Friday, August 8

Dance dance dance, the Hollywood version

Very informative analysis of dance and choreography from classical Hollywood dance movies: how deceptively simple was the complicated choreo of the barn sequence in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," the give it up and forget you're a regular guy mode of "In and Out," and how Gene Kelly's splash down a rainy street is reminiscent of a 4 year old's simple joy.

Also learned from article that they're doing a batch of remakes, headed by "Shall We Dance?" I saw this movie many years ago in UP, and its simplicity wowed me. Saw it in the same year as Baz Luhmann's "Strictly Ballroom," also a dance movie in the same mode in which the ugly duckling shy person blossoms into a formidable dancer. In the Hollywood remake, the shy Japanese businessman role will be essayed by Richard Gere, hopefully now with more dancing skills than what he exhibited in Chicago, and the dancing muse will be played by Jennifer Lopez.

And the Dirty Dancing remake will be set in Havana, now cleverly called "Dirty Dancing Havana Nights." How innovative is that, 'no? Hehehe. But I think I'll watch it because it stars Diego Luna, that impish little boy from Y Tu Mama Tambien. Gael Garcia Bernal may be the man, but I don't object to watching impish naughty little boys either. Hehehe.

Thursday, August 7

death by bludgeoning?

So France's most popular rock star, who's being called like a French Kurt Cobain, is suspected of having killed his famous actress lover, Marie Tritignant. I first heard about this after I crawled home early Sunday morning after having coffee with friends.

Of course Mr. Rockstar may or may have not done it. But he is the prime suspect. It's the hottest buzz the French press has to jumpstart the summer lull. Makes for a good crime investigation movie. Shyet, ang bad ko.
karma 727

and I'm also an emotional Phi, who dares but only likes to look rather than touch. I don't talk much but I'm a 10. Er, whatever that means.
Logic and what?! wtf?

I took the E-mode IQ test and it said that my intellectual type was a "Precision Processor." And did I know that "this means you're exceptionally good at discovering quick solutions to problems, especially ones that involve math or logic. You're also resourceful and able to think on your feet. "

Eh? Me, math and logic aren't exactly best friends. They know this. Something must be wrong with that quiz. I seem to remember that I was a "Visionary Philosopher" type some years back. So what does that mean? Nawala na yung analysis at spatial capabilities ko? Na-drain na ba ang creative juices ko? Unless I got better in math, which is blah because I had to endure math classes. Bakit di na lang nung pinagpapawisan ako sa exams ng Nat Sci at Math I di ba? Anomalous, this quiz. That's all I can say.


Wednesday, August 6

Carly Simon says

You're so vain, you think this blog post is about you...You're so vain....
creativity as an ingredient of madness

It's always been said that the truly creative people are a little mad, or at least wear really weird hats and mumble to themselves. Natch. I think it's part myth, partly true. For some reason I had the sudden mental image of a man fluttering his arms about, like wings, and all yellow. It's like the madness of birds. Arcellana, natch. Isn't his first death anniversary somewhere along this timeline? Must be it.
I want my favorite Asian renegade supercop, CSI.

Went to see Bangkok Haunted with my brothers some weeks ago. I've been seeing the trailer since forever, and since it was from the Pang brothers who made The Eye I was pretty interested. Major disappointment. My brothers were going, we should have seen Terminator instead, and I had to drag them thru bad weather to see it. Jol is supposed to post a review of it, scathing like his usual self, but it's not up yet.

I also saw the trailer for Dark Water, which is from the director of the Ringu series. It's like he transported the ring with its water/well imagery and transformed it to a..water tank. How's that for a formula?

I'm becoming disappointed with all these Asian clones. Been wanting to see movies which rock, goddmamit. Yesterday, I resorted to watching So Close again at the Film Center. At least, even if some say it's basically an Asian Charlie's Angels. It had lots of kickass fight scenes involving girls in stillettos. I like the soldier-bandit motif. Kunyari pa-deep, like Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, di ba? Hehe. What more can you ask for?

I had a bad memory from watching So Close alone in Megamall. Got bitten by ten thousand surots in Cinema 6. But I don't mind, which is why I watched it again. This time brought along Nonblockmate Arlene, who has a bagful of her European snapshots. I'd watch this movie again. Two words: Karen Mok.

She was in Fallen Angels, which makes her a Wong Kar Wai baby, and Cinemanila is having a WKM retrospective so I want to watch that again. She was also in Shaolin Soccer and the adaptation of Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen. And the girl studied Italian Lit, and can speak several Languages. Plus her brother is a writer. Astig di ba? Magtatayo na kami ng Karen Mok fans club. Hehehe.
Rise of the X

With the death of John Schlesinger, director of Midnight Cowboy and one of the last major studio films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar comes the introspection as to what has happened to sex in movies. New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell also traces the rise of the x-rating, or its equivalent the NC-17:
Is there a fear of dealing with grown-up sexuality in movies? Absolutely. Movies are intentionally sexy without being sexual, because puerile teasing is a kind of salesmanship. The sad corollary is the preponderance of violence in American films. A foreigner judging the United States by its films would think Americans spend more time running from exploding fireballs than having sex.

The X rating wasn't initially viewed as the scarlet letter but as a reaction to self-imposed studio censorship so intrusive and baffling that movies existed in the Bizarro Universe, a place remarkably similar to our own but with freakish differences, including having married couples sleep in twin beds.

After 1968, the year the ratings were created, the freedoms they offered were celebrated by filmmakers. Still, it was the subject matter of "Midnight Cowboy" — a male prostitute and his manager — that got the X rating; the film received an R when it was rereleased in the 1970's.

The rise of the X rating as the equivalent of a biohazard logo came about for two reasons. One was that the combination of violence and sex in "A Clockwork Orange" so incensed some newspapers, then the primary form of promotion for movies, that they stopped carrying advertising for X-rated films. (Some newspapers do not accept advertising for NC-17 films.)

The other reason was that the Motion Picture Association did not copyright the X-rating. Companies seeking a rating submit their films to the association and pay a fee, and the ratings board bestows its G, PG or R in return, all of which have been copyrighted. The X was not, which created a laughable concept in sleazy promotion for pornographic movies: a proliferation of X's stamped across the poster. The unspoken thought was that these movies were so hot that one X was not enough for their lust, sex and bad acting.
The last major studio film with an X rating was Showgirls, and man, was that some showcase for Joe Esthezhas, Paul Verhoeven not withstanding.

In our backyard, we are producing lesser movies, both in quantity and quality. A film like say, Live Show will get all the brouhaha because of the sex-content. But we only have two or three kinds of movies now: the odd romantic comedy starring Regine Velasquez, bang-bang action movies with Robin Padilla/Jacky Woo in it, and our garden variety sex films. The sex films are of two kinds: the major studio semi-glossy types with any of the Hot Babes in it, or maybe Joyce Jimenez; then there's the run of the mill with any of your number of unknowns. Have you noticed how these low-budget sex movies focus on girl collectives, ie, Mga Babae sa VIP Room and Sa Piling ng mga Belyas. Belyas has Mark Anthony Fernandez in it. I mean, that must be a total low. An ex-Guwaping and star of the awesome filmography of Pare Ko, Hesus Rebolusyonaryo and Mangarap Ka is doing a low-budget sex movie. Yeah, we're dead meat.
Okay so the Trillanes post spawned several versions within the week it first came out. I'm sure people have received its various incarnations, like the English translation and the reply to Trillanes letter. Oh well. Got word that one of our high school batchmates was part of the mutiny group now killing time in Fort Bonifacio.

Friday, August 1

Because Empire of Memory is in my to-read list,
and because it is not the final emotion.

Factory of Souls
Eric Gamalinda

It takes just two people to bring the world
to ruin. So goes the history of love.
At the end of the day we tally the casualties
of war, victory for the one who gets wounded

the least. You say it's time for a change
but I don't know to what end, change being
just the skin of some incandescent creature
whose grotesque beauty is what we adore,

whom some people call love, whom we
venerate because it consumes us, morsels
for its huge soul. My people say, don't look
or you'll go blind. You say the end was always

just around the bend. I say all we have
is unconditional surrender to the future.
So unreliable is the past that I feel compelled
to leave unmourned the blind, relentless loves

that may have scorched into our hearts
the way the saints accepted stigmata.
My people say,look back or lose your way.
Or, walk backwards if you can.
So I found myself on a bus to New York City

to lose myself completely. Past Hunters Point
we hit the factory of souls - a thousand tombstones
whose subterranean chambers manufactured
the silk-like smoke that we must feed to God.

I don't think the world's ever going to end.
I think it will go on and on, and we will
be as nebulous as Nebuchadnezzar, our lives
not worth a footnote, our grand schemes

no more than insidious whispers, all memory
shifting like the continental plates. I should grieve
for time misspent, love returned to sender,
ambitions gone awry. But bards more sage than I

have seen the folly of our loss - and have sung
more dirges than I can bear. In the future,
perhaps all science will finally come around;
genetic engineering, I hear, will be all the rage,

and we will be a super race in a world
infallibly perfected, where trains run on time,
love never dies, and hope can be purchased
by the pound. They call it "immortalization

of the cell lines." We will choose what will survive.
Our destiny made lucid, we will find the world
contemplating itself, like the young god
who held his breath and found Narcissus,

the beautiful rapt face all sparked with awe,
one hand about to touch the pool,
his body lurched towards that marvelous
reflection. I suppose the human race

has always felt compelled to desensitize
its failures. My people say, to go unnoticed,
you play dead. Or something. I myself

may have chosen to forget a face, a name,
some cruel word uttered carelessly, but not,
after some reflection, intending any pain.
and many others may have chosen to forget me.

It works both ways. My people say, regret
is the final emotion. It's what you see
when you look back. It's what's no longer there.

stolen from this site.