Friday, December 25, 2009

My La Vie Boheme Moment



What's your La Vie Boheme moment?

My La Vie Boheme moment happened back in 2007 after I quit my job and literally lived a "bohemian life" for six months. It was the peak of my quarter-life crisis and was inclined to take life as lightly as I could. Boy, did I dig a deep hole in my parent's pocket! I enroled in French and Spanish classes (yes, at the same time!) and took up a film directing class.

Being a cinephile, I became a permanent fixture at the movie theatre and was always in a tizzy at the film festivals. Movies became part of my daily diet, and I dissected them with friends over dinner at night. I was the King of Spontaneity;I gleefully embarked where the wind would take me -- concerts, performance art events, poetry readings, heck, I even attended spirituality seminars. I was a bum who was always on the look out for a good place to eat or a nice party to crash and went on oomp-pah-pah drinkathons with people I just met. On my quiet days, I devoured books and visited museums.

I guess, it was my reaction against a redundant workload and a punishing office schedule. I searched for my niche by exploring all available options. Or maybe I was just young and stupid, and had nothing to lose. But of course, to every great party, "then the morning comes". Fact was I.Had.No.Money and there was the urge to finally give up the title of being my parents' oldest living headache. I cleaned up my act: I looked for a job and am now in a state of happy equilibrium between myself and the universe.

Looking back, "those six months of joblessness" was the most fun, enriching phase of my life. Will I do it again? Not in a heartbeat. Nevertheless it was a great experience to have, at one point in my life, lived totally bohemian.





Want to experience "La Vie Boheme"? Watch the Manila staging of "Rent" brought to you by Our Awesome Planet on February 6, 2010 (Sat), 8 pm at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza. Reserve your tickets by emailing amillionmiracles@gmail.com or call Minnie Fong at 0917 8676332.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Owl City, Paramore, Boys Like Girls In Manila in 2010!

The first quarter of 2010 looks very exciting for music enthusiasts everywhere. The Killers, Ne-Yo, Owl City, Boys Like Girls and The Beach Boys are set to perform in Manila! Mark your calendars when these acts hit the town:


Ne-Yo at the MoA Concert Ground
Date: January 9, 2010; 8 pm
Ticket Price: 7500 (VVIP)
5500 (VIP)
4000 (Platinum)
2500 (Gold)
1500 (Silver)
500 (Bronze)



Boys Like Girls with Hed Kandi at the MoA SMX Convention
Date:  January 27, 8 pm
Ticket Price: P3696 (VIP Standing)
P1696 (Gold Standing)



The Beach Boys at the Araneta
Date: January 27, 8 pm
Ticket Price: P4020 (Patron VIP)
3700 (Patron B)
2960 (Lower Box)
1900 (Upper Box A)
850 (Upper Box B)
530 (General Admission)



The Killers at the MoA Concert Ground
Date: January 31, 2010; 8 pm
Ticket Price: 5550 (VIP Standing)
3950 (Gold Standing)
1550 (Silver Standing)
550 (Bronze Standing)



Paramore at the MoA Concert Ground
Date: March 9, 2010
Ticket Price: 3950 (Gold)
1550 (Silver)
550 (Bronze)



Owl City at the MoA SMX Convention
Date: March 14, 2010
Ticket Price: TBD

The New Me


21 pounds lighter
 

Exhibit A. Bulging midsection, massive thighs and legs reminiscent of Eddie Murphy in “The Nutty Professor”.
Exhibit A1. Double, err, triple chin. Puto- like cheeks. Circumferential expansion of the neck (or more appropriately, disappearance of the neck).
Exhibit A2. Saddlebags and beer handles galore.


Verdict: By a unanimous vote, the Court of Gluttony found Silverscreensurfer guilty of being fat and upon the recommendation of this court, he is sentenced to a minimum of 150 push ups a day for the next six months, and is ordered to stay at least 200 yards from all major fast-food chains.

That’s it. My Chicken Burger days are over. I snapped from my cheesecake coma and found that I have ballooned into 158 lbs. So I guess it would be bollocks to hide behind excuses: I got fat, period. Let’s all laugh about it, har-har-har!

It all feels weird since I’ve never had a weight issue before. Well not until people who are dear to me have started labeling me “Mojacko”. When I was growing up, I’ve been called a lot of things but fat wasn’t one of them. It was always “ting-ting” (reed-thin) or “pihikan” (picky eater). There was a time when I’ve been guilty of habitually chucking my meals in the bin just because I didn’t have the appetite. (Oh, what I would give to relive those lovely anorexic years!)

Flashforward to summer of 2009, food occupies either positions one or two in my top three thoughts for the day. All my shirts look one size smaller and my cheeks—the horror!—looks like the local bakery has stuffed me with too much pan de agua.

What’s more, it seems like everywhere I looked, forces of nature were conspiring to compel me to do something about my weight. Sometime in July, I turned on the TV and chanced upon an episode on obesity in a lifestyle program. It featured an overweight guy who got a botched liposuction and has hanging remnants of excess skin around the waist. Enter the surgeon’s voiceover: “Life is happier for thinner, taller, more attractive people.” Revolted, I switched programs to Oprah where the camera was focused on a sorry- looking teenage girl. Oprah, off- cam: “Coming up, the story of a 136 lb. teenager who got bullied because of her weight!”

Too much.

This has got to stop. No more procrastinating. I’ve got to adhere to a healthier lifestyle before I become a candidate for abdominal lipectomy: Enough of the “Mojacko” jeers. I need to transform!

Part of my "getting thin" agenda are the following: sign up for a gym, get a nutritionist and participate in more physical activities. Tall order, isn’t it? I gave myself four months and I told myself, if my plan backfires, heck, I can always go back to Chicken burger with the very appetizing grease at the bottom of the wrapper.

With the square-jawed determination of a Marine, I began my journey towards losing weight. For dramatic purposes, I called it “Project: Transformation”.

1. Turning Into a Gym Rat. I signed up for a one-year membership at a fitness center near my area at the prodding of my gym rat of an officemate. I was a skeptic at first but thought it would be a nice start. The first few weeks were an ordeal; I went home with my body sore from all the cardio and weight-lifting I did. But after a few weeks, going to the gym became a habit. The treadmill became my bestfriend. When I started noticing my body fat turning into muscles, I realized that the pain was all worth it.




2. Diet! Diet! Diet! This is the hardest part. For a person like me who consumes two cups of rice per meal, sticking to a healthy diet is next to impossible. You know what I did? I posted my most unflattering picture on the fridge for inspiration. I also met with a nutritionist and asked for professional advice. She gave me a diet schedule and consistently monitored my progress. Soon enough, the junk food, chocolates and soda in my fridge were replaced with fruits, oatmeal crackers and sports jelly beans. I must admit though, occasionally, I rewarded myself with a slice of cheesecake for a job well done.


3. Getting Hooked on Running. In my quest for fitness, I was bitten by the running bug. There are about a gazillion fun races organized by small and big organizations and I signed up for a few of them. I did the Ayala Eco-Dash in September, the Octoberun Festival, The Timex Run in November and more recently, the Philstar Celebrity Run. The fun in running is the fact that it’s a lone sport – you set your own goals and your own pace. It also doesn’t entail much special equipment and the cost is not prohibitive. It also was a good excuse to buy new running shoes.




And so it can be told. After four months of slaving it off at the gym and dieting like hell, "Project: Transformation" finally paid off. I am now 21 pounds lighter and mighty proud of it. I can now slip into my old size 32 jeans without holding my tummy in. Heck, I can now even hit the beach with the confidence of a Baywatch cast (Lol). And the compliments I’ve been getting from people have been overwhelming.

Of course, the transformation doesn’t end here. The real challenge is to maintain my ideal weight and to have the gumption to say “No” to beer baths, cheesecake binge and sinful sisig nights. Am I up for the challenge? Hell, yeah!?!

How about you? Still waiting for that life-changing transformation to happen? Start with a healthy body that has loads of energy, good immunity and perfectly glowing skin. Experience the change with GlutaMAX. 






GlutaMAX, See The Results!

Friday, December 18, 2009

2010 Golden Globe Nominations Revealed

"Avatar", "Up In The Air" and "Nine" lead the 2010 Golden Globe nominations.

Hurrays: Mo'Nique, Julianne Moore and (500) Days of Summer got the love that they deserve.

Boos: No love for District 9's Sharlto Copley and the Inglorious Basterds' femme fatales Melanie Laurent and Diane Krueger.
The awards will air Sunday, January 17, 2010 on NBC. Here is the complete list of nominees:




Best Motion Picture -- Drama
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Precious
Up in the Air


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sadibe, Precious
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers


Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover
It's Complicated
Julie & Julia
Nine


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Meryl Streep, It's Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia
Julia Roberts, Duplicity


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon, The Informant
Daniel Day Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mo-Nique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Penelope Cruz, Nine


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon, Invictus
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Christopher Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger


Best Animated Feature Film
Coraline
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The Princess and the Frog
Up


Best Foreign Language Film
Barria
Broken Embraces
A Prophet
The White Ribbon
The Maid


Best Director -- Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds


Best Screenplay -- Motion Picture
Up in the Air
It's Complicated
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds


Best Original Score -- Motion Picture
Michael Giacchino, Up
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant
James Horner, Avatar
Abel Krozeniowski, A Single Man
Karen O. and Carter Burwell, Where the Wild Things Are


Best Original Song -- Motion Picture
"I Will See You," Avatar
"The Weary Kind," The Crazy Heart
"Winter," Brothers
"Cinema Italiano," Nine
"I Want to Come Home," Everybody's Fine

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

National Board of Review Picks "Up In The Air" 2010 Best Picture

The Oscar season officially begins with the announcement of the 2010 National Board of Review honorees. The NBR traditionally beats everyone to the draw as it announces its winners in early December. Not a major ripple in the pond though, as NBR isn’t really a reliable barometer of the Oscars.


This year's winners include George Clooney, Morgan Freeman and NBR favorite Clint Eastwood.
NBR snubs: “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”, “Nine”, “An Education”, “Avatar” and “Lovely Bones”

NBR Biggest WTF: “Star Trek”? Seriously?!


Here is the complete list of NBR winners:


BEST FILM: "Up in the Air"

TEN BEST FILMS
(Alphabetical order)
"An Education"
"(500) Days of Summer"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Invictus"
"The Messenger"
"A Serious Man"
"Star Trek"
"Up"

"Where the Wild Things Are"

BEST DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood, "Invictus"
BEST ACTOR (tie): George Clooney, "Up in the Air"; Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"

BEST ACTRESS: Carey Mulligan, "An Education"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "A Prophet"

BEST DOCUMENTARY: "The Cove"

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: "Up"

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST: "It's Complicated"

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR: Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS: Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious"

SPOTLIGHT AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT: Duncan Jones, "Moon"; Oren Moverman, "The Messenger"; Marc Webb, "(500) Days of Summer"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Joel and Ethan Coen, "A Serious Man"

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"

SPECIAL FILMMAKING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Wes Anderson, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

WILLIAM K. EVERSON FILM HISTORY AWARD: Jean Picker Firstenberg

NBR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
"Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country"
"Invictus"
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers"

FIVE BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILMS
(Alphabetical order)
"The Maid"
"Revanche"
"Song of Sparrows"
"Three Monkeys"
"The White Ribbon"

FIVE BEST DOCUMENTARIES
(Alphabetical order)
"Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country"
"Crude"
"Food, Inc."
"Good Hair"
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers"

TOP 10 INDEPENDENT FILMS
(Alphabetical order)
"Amreeka"
"District 9"
"Goodbye Solo"
"Humpday"
"In the Loop"
"Julia"
"Me and Orson Welles"
"Moon"
"Sugar"
"Two Lovers"

Friday, December 4, 2009

What am I Thankful for This 2009?



Remember two years ago when Marion Cotillard won an Oscar for Best Actress and she tearfully exclaimed, “Thank you, life! Thank you, love!” Well, I want to have the same beaming declaration as this year draws to an end. There’s a lot to be thankful for in 2009 that I want to run around like an idiot savant and announce with glee: “2009 rocked my life!”


Here’s a list of things that I’m thankful for this year:


1. Moments that made the Filipinos proud: the double whammy of Manny Pacquiao over Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, Director Brillante Mendoza’s triumph at Cannes, educator Efren Peñaflorida’s win as the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Charice, Arnel Pineda among others. I glowed with pride when these outstanding Filipinos took the spotlight and showed the world what we are capable of. Thank you, Pinoy superheroes!

2. Outpouring of Love and Support in the aftermath of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The worst truly brings out the best in us. This has never been more apparent in the days that followed supertyphoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The term “bayanihan” was revived as we witnessed the young and the old, the rich and the poor extend their hands to the victims. For my part, I volunteered and helped in my own little way in the relief operations at Sagip Kapamilya and the Ateneo. Thank you, fellow volunteers!

3. Philippine Stage is alive! I had the great fortune of watching brilliant stage productions this year: Repertory’s “Portrait of An Artist as Filipino” last February and “Sweeney Todd” (still running this month), and Atlantis Productions’ “Spring Awakening” last October. I’m just heartened to know that our luminous stage talents still continue to give us our most unforgettable and moving theatre experiences. Who says the theatre is dead? Thank you, theatre artists!

4. Film Festivals of 2009: A cinephile’s heaven! I grew heady with the treasure trove of excellent movies I saw at this year’s Pelicula Spanish Filmfest in Greenbelt, Cine Europa and the Korean Filmfest in Shang Cineplex, and Cinemanila in Taguig. Not to mention the eclectic selections at Mogwai and U-View Fully Booked. Many film lovers, myself included, had a whale of a good time obsessing about cinema in these events. Thank you, festival organizers!

5. Great Films of 2009. Still on the subject of cinema, my oh my, there were many releases this year that were just mind-blowingly good! There's "District 9", "Wanted: Border", "500 Days of Summer", "Anti-Christ" and "The Hurt Locker". And then there are the awards contenders that we haven't seen yet: "Up In the Air", "Precious", "Invictus" etc. 2009's film output is probably the most exciting we've seen in years. Thank you, actors and filmmakers!

6. My Personal Circle of Support. I wouldn't have survived the year without the love and guidance of my family and friends. They were there during my choicest moments this year. Thank you, family and friends!

7. The Mistakes I Made in 2009. On a more personal note, I would admit that I made some pretty bad decisions this year (on my finances, career and life in general) that I could've done differently. No regrets, though. I'm not resentful for the wrong choices that I made because I know it's part of my learning experience and growth. My mistakes actually made me gain insight of how much I'm growing. Thank you, my mistakes!


How about you? What's in your thank-you list? Make one now for a chance to win a Moleskine Colour a Month Daily Planner 2010! Check out details at www.avalon.ph. Here's the link: http://blog.avalon.ph/2009/12/win-a-moleskine-colour-a-month-daily-planner-2010/.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinoy Classics Review: Kampanerang Kuba (1973)



The loooong lines at Glorietta for “New Moon” discouraged me from even trying. So I ended up channel-surfing at home and found an even better alternative: a cable TV showing of the Vilma Santos starrer “Kampanerang Kuba”.

I’m not a big fan of TV so I have no idea how the serialized version turned out but the 1973 original is a work of awe and some and ness. It’s Pablo S. Gomez in his golden age of terrible shit. Here's an example of a retro film that truly celebrates the shtick, "it's so bad, it's gone past good and back to bad again"

Vilma Santos plays Andang, a female Quasimodo with a heart of gold who lives in the church bell tower. She is also sort of an idiot-savant who talks to the statue of St. Martin de Porres and calls it “Mang Martin”. She also speaks to the church bells and asks them: “Bakit malungkot na kayo? Wala na ang inyong saya at awit.”

Despite of (or perhaps because of) her hideous appearance, she is held dear by the parish priest Padre Damaso but abhorred by the church caretaker, Edeng who maltreats her at every opportunity. Andang is ugly, ugly, ugly and deserves all the pain she can get.

Padre Damaso tries to bring sense to Edeng and talks to her outside the church.

Padre Damaso: “Edeng, ilang ulit ko ba namang sasabihin sa iyo na wag mo nang pagmalupitan si Andang? Napakabait na bata nya. Malambot ang puso.”
Edeng:  “Tama ka, padre. Para siyang tupa sa kabanalan. Pag kaharap kayo. Pero pagtalikod nyo, sutil. Ubod ng tapang, naninibasib!”

Naninibasib. This is just a sample taste of the knee-slapping goodness of Pablo S. Gomez and Nilo Saez’s script.


Enter Celia Rodriguez as Tateng, Edeng’s devilish daughter who is practically ten times meaner than her mother and hangs around the church wearing skimpy red outfits. Celia Rodriguez is at her most versatile here as she is also the town nymphomaniac who preys on married men starting with the character of the late great Dindo Fernando.

One night, Celia and Dindo exchange smooches outside the church. Celia can’t take the heat anymore and invites Dindo inside. In the crudest Pablo S. Gomez joke, Dindo’s character is named Crispin.

Crispin (Dindo): O, bakit dito?
Tateng (Celia): Wag kang mag-alala. Sariling- sarili natin ang simbahan.

Vilma catches them kissing while scratching each other’s back on the church pew. Tateng panics and slaps Andang. She threatens to kill Andang if she squeals.

Now, Tateng may be the town “Malena” but she’s also choosy. She only goes out with hunks like Dindo Fernando and she’s not about to play hide-the-salami with Max Alvarado. Max plays Diego, the town’s classic baddie who has the hots for Tateng but has been rejected many times over. Tateng is not just into him.

One afternoon, a pissed-off Diego bumps into Andang who was on her way to the river.

Diego (Max): Ano ba?! Tatanga-tanga ka kasi.
Andang (Vilma): Bakit ang init ng ulo mo? Siguro tumalbog ka na naman kay Tateng ano?
Diego (Max): Anong tumalbog? Ako ang pinipilit nya. Ako lang ang may ayaw.
Andang (Vilma): Ayaw nya sa iyo—ampangit mo kasi!
Diego (Max): Ha?! Sinong pangit?!
Andang (Vilma): Sino pa. Eh di tayong dalawa.

Ngok. Ngok. Ngok. Ngok.

The Tateng-Andang conflict reached its pinnacle with a girlfight at the pigsty after Tateng said, “Bagay ka diyan. Mukha ka na ring baboy!” Tateng is the more robust chick and quickly overpowers the hunchback. Thankfully, the parish’s hot new priest Father Agaton (Bobot Mortiz) stops the fight and brings Andang back to the church to tend her wounds. Celia Rodriquez seethes.


Andang’s misery hasn’t ended yet. In a sick twist of fate craftily arranged by Tateng, she was accused of stealing jewelry from about 70% of the female population in the barrio. Andang was chased up the bell tower and attempted to end her life by jumping from the top of the church. But no, the women wanted blood in their hands! They coaxed Andang to come down and they beat her to a pulp. Then she was tied to a horse and dragged behind like Eric Bana in “Troy” before leaving her for dead in the bushes.

The very weak Andang crawls back to the church and throws herself at the foot of the Virgin statue. Cue the apparition scene of “Mang Martin. It rained petals and Andang miraculously transforms to a ravishing beauty.

Now at this point in the film, things play out like scenes in a David Lynch movie. While praying inside the church, Andang was suddenly approached by two hysterical spinsters (Perla Bautista and Rossana Marquez) who both swear she is Sandra, their long-lost jewel of a sister. There is no explanation what happened to this real Sandra character whom Andang replaces. We just take it hook, line and sinker that she IIIS Sandra and she now lives the high life – with a huge mansion, some servants and polka-dotted blouses with shoulder pads.

Andang, este, Sandra  gets flocked by suitors but noo, she only has eyes for Father Agaton. Sandra goes to confession and declares her love for the priest.

Sandra (Vilma): Patawarin mo ako, Padre. Ang lalaking iniibig ko ay IKAW.

Padre Agaton rejects her and Sandra leaves the church heartbroken. As if the poor priest’s faith hasn’t been tested enough, Celia Rodriguez appears in a red outfit and runs her hand across his chest.

Tateng (Celia): Ako’y nauuhaw. Painumin mo ako. (she turns around) Babae ako. Ikaw ay lalaki. Malulunasan mo ang aking kagutuman.

Padre Agaton turns down two girls in one night! But the worst is yet to come. Because hell hath no fury than Celia Rodriguez scorned!

Soon enough, rumors spread like wildfire that Sandra and Padre Agaton are having an affair. The town gets livid and storms the church, crying for blood. It appears that the most livid are Dindo Fernando and Max Alvarado. Like a Salem witch, they tie Padre Agaton to a tree and start to burn him at the stake. Max and Dindo cackle like the resident baddies that they are.

By a stroke of faith, Sandra happens at the burning and tries to stop it. Max Alvarado slaps her for even trying. Desperate, she runs to the church and implores the help of "Mang Martin". She climbs the tower and rings the bell. A miracle! The rain begins to pour and stokes the fire!


The very wet Celia Rodriguez suddenly achieves clarity and tearfully announces, "Padre, mula ngayon ay iuukol ko ang nalalabi ko pang buhay sa paglilingkod sa Diyos." Behind her, Celia's mother beams, "Salamat sa Diyos at naliwanagan ang kanyang isipan!"

But don't think Mang Martin will give the miracle for free. Vilma emerges as the ugly hunchback Andeng! Sandra is gone! Death to fantasy! Up yours, "New Moon"!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: 2012




I want to hurl myself towards a taichi sword every time I come across people who try to dissect the storyline, the coincidences and the motivation of characters in a Roland Emmerich movie and scoff and bitch when they finally get down to..nothing. Wake up, Einstein! You don’t go inside a theatre holding a ticket for "2012" and expect to see “Schindler’s List”. Hullooo.

Wag na tayong maglokohan. "2012" is a formula picture trying to cash in on the Mayan doomsday prophecy and a big-budget excuse for Emmerich to blow up the world in eye-popping CGI. But man, oh man, does it work! Leave your common sense at the door and sink in a tub of popcorn and you’ll have what is probably the silliest, most enjoyable time at the movies this year.

2012 assembles a talented cast delivering lines from a script that seemed to be aiming for gold at the Razzies. John Cusack plays Jackson Curtis, a science fiction writer who, after his failed marriage to wife Kate (Amanda Peet) tries to squeeze in some bonding time with his son and daughter (Liam James & Morgan Lily) by taking them on a camping trip to Yellowstone. There he meets a nutty pirate radio DJ (an over the top Woody Harrelson) who tells them about some special arks being built by the government to save the human race from a major ecological cataclysm.


As it turns out, huge solar flares are heating the Earth’s core and California is turning into pot roast. Thanks to the efforts of geologist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Dr. Satnam Tsurutani (Jimi Mistri of “The Guru” Hahaha!) this was brought to the attention of the White House chief of staff (Oliver Platt) and the President (Danny Glover).

What follows is standard Emmerich as he bug-fucks the world like never before. What he hasn’t destroyed yet in “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”, he does it here with gusto. OMG! St. Peter’s Basilica! Christ the Redeemer in Rio! The tip of the Himalayas! And...the Grand Prize winner of the “What-The-Fark-Disaster-Movie-Moment of The Year”—aircraft carrier USS JF Kennedy riding a mile-high tsunami and taking down the White House!


The only bumps in this thrilling ride are the father-son dramatic moments (booo!) and the abhorrent clichés! Don’t get me wrong: I revel in clichés, but this one I can’t take: the US President gives another stupid speech that’s supposed to make everybody cry. And yet another dog survives a disaster flick. One of these days, all these dogs will come together and star in the live action version of “All Dogs Go To Heaven”.

Nevertheless, “2012” should be your choice of blockbuster on a mindless nighout. It’s ridiculous, brash and excessive. To cite Oliver Platt’s golden line in the movie: "What did you think we were going to do? Hold hands and sing `Kumbaya?'"

Rating: 3 stars

Friday, November 20, 2009

Scoop: Krista Ranillo - Mocha Hot Lesbian Kiss!

I’m interrupting my own regular programming with these steamy lesbian smooches between self-confessed bisexual singer Mocha Uson and controversial Pacman mistress starlet Krista Ranillo. The photos appeared in Mocha’s own blog where she recounted how the kiss happened in a secluded spot at the Maxim Magazine office in ABS-CBN last April. Mocha declares “she’s proud that she was Krista’s first (girl kiss).”

That’s the latest update in starletdom. Now back to my regular movie-watching schedule.

(Photos from http://mochauson.com/)





Sunday, November 15, 2009

Robert Pattinson Plays Salvador Dali in Little Ashes!


One of the most magical moments in my years of blind devotion to movie-watching was when I first saw a 15- minute 1929 masterpiece called "Un Chien Andalou" by master surrealist Luis Bunuel. It was dream-like, shocking and nothing like anything I've ever seen. For a time I was obsessed with the works of Bunuel and this obsession extended to the works of Bunuel's frequent collaborators, the painter Salvador Dali and writer Federico Garcia Lorca.

Imagine my excitement when I found out that a movie has recently been made about the lives and relationships of the formidable trio. The movie "Little Ashes" follows the 18-year old Dali as he attracts the attention and develops a bond with the university's social elite, Bunuel and Lorca in 1922 Madrid.


If it sounds rather boring, wait till your 13 year-old daughter finds out that it stars "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson as the very Spanish Salvador Dali. (Uhmm. That bit kind of ruins the film for me.) This is Pattinson's first post- Edward Cullen film and is sure to drive public interest. The film also stars Javier Beltran as Garcia Llorca and Matthew McNulty as Bunuel. Paul Morrison directs.


Hmmm.. Why do I have the feeling that this film is going to be truly abhorrent and forgettable in an "Other Boleyn Girl" kind of way? Ikaw? What do you  think? Should this be in the crap bucket? (Hi, Peter Travers)

Pacman Destroys Cotto! In Other News: Manny Pacquiao To Star in Superhero Flick "Wapakman"


Still picking up my jaw from the floor after watching the sensational Manny Pacquiao- Miguel Cotto bout. The two warriors put up a terrific fight in twelve pulsating rounds. The Pacman destroyed Cotto with his amazing speed and swarming style and won by TKO.

Mayweather, you're next, bitch!

While I catch up on oxygen, here's the teaser of Manny Pacquiao's upcoming superhero movie "Wapakman" by "Ouija" director Topel Lee. Will Pacman's drawing power in the ring translate to box office magic?





I don't know about you but I'm watching if only for the perverse pleasure of seeing the Pacman let it out on a giant talangka. Really. There is such a scene.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Paranormal Activity



stars: Katie Featherston & Micah Sloat
director: Oren Peli


Ten years ago, two fiercely original horror movies came out that took scary to a totally different plane: "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project". The first one signaled the end of the public’s fascination with Wes Craven-type gore films while the second triumphed with its minimalist filmmaking and its viral marketing strategy.

“Paranormal Activity” follows the template of “Blair Witch” but misses one element, albeit the most important one: the Scare Factor. Sorry, hype-followers but "Paranormal Activity" is just-not-scary.

Don’t believe the hype. Hype is a bitch. This hideous creepshow failed to elicit even a fake gasp from me. By the final act, I was scratching my balls.

I may not just be the type of audience for a low-budge, one-note nightmare about a young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat)  running around the house with a videocam in the hopes of capturing some nightly demonic presence. Mostly, we watch them bicker and groan like dull couples in an episode of “Wife Swap”. I let out an empowered "What the faaarrkk?!?" as the film liberally steals inspiration from “Blair Witch” and “Ringu”. It gets worse.

In between a mish-mash of dull scenes, there are ludicrous bits that only 15 year olds could take as scary. I mean, come on. Heavy footsteps? Loud thuds? Scary? Seriously??? It grows less convincing with each passing moment.

And it doesn’t help that the shoddy script consisted mainly of the female lead shrieking, “Micah? Micah! Micaaaaah!!” with the acting intensity of Paris Hilton in “House of Wax”.

One of the movie’s blurbs declares: “Don’t See It Alone”. I say, “Don’t See It” period. Save your popcorn. You want a good horror show with lots of handheld shit? Rent. Watch “Rec”. Cheerio, fanboys.


Rating: 1 star

Friday, November 13, 2009

Martin Scorsese To Receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes


Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese will receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes this January 2010, the Hollywood Foreign Press announced today.

Scorsese is a two time- Golden Globe Best Director winner for "The Departed" and "Gangs of New York", two of the most un-Scorsese films that I've seen from Scorsese. Just last year, Scorsese presented the same award to buddy Steven Spielberg.

The Globes will be broadcast live on NBC on January 17, Sunday and will be hosted by British comedian "Ricky Gervais".

Scorsese's next film, "Shutter Island" will arrive at theatres on February next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Music: Ne-Yo Back in Manila on January 2010!


This just in: R&B crooner Ne-Yo will be back in Manila to perform in a concert at the SM MoA Concert Grounds on January 9, 2010! "Eurasia", an all-female performing group from Viva Records (think Hot Babes) will be the opening act.

Details about the concert are still sketchy but according to H&S Productions, the “Miss Independent” singer is also slated to perform in Malaysia on January as well. This is great news for my Mom who loves listening to Ne-Yo. Seriously.

The Ne-Yo 2010 Concert is produced by Brown Cross Investments Inc. For tickets inquiry and sales, call 891.9999

Cinema One Originals 2009 in Gateway Mall, Nov. 13-17




Five competing films will be screened at this year’s edition of the Cinema One Originals digital film festival exclusively at Gateway Cinemas in Cubao, from November 13- 17. Ticket price is at P120.

Now celebrating its 15 years in the cable television industry, Cinema One continues its tradition of giving an opportunity to budding filmmakers to make their films with a grant of one million pesos from a competitive search. This year’s five finalists are: “Si Baning Si Mayamay at ang Asong Si Bobo”, “Bala Bala”, “Wanted:Border”, “Paano Ko Sasabihin”, and “Maximus and Minimus”.

What I’m especially excited about in this year’s edition are the retrospective tributes to directors Brillante Mendoza and….Danny Zialcita! Danny Zialcita films are a blaze of tropical sunshine. This will be your chance to watch his rah-rah flicks such as: “Dear Heart”, “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?”, “Nagalit Ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi”, “Palabra de Honor” and “Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?”.


Festival Program


November 13, 2009 Friday
11:50 AM - Yangaw
2:00 PM - Dear Heart
4:30 PM - Kinatay
7:00 PM - Maximus & Minimus
9:20 PM - Wanted Border

November 14, 2009 Saturday
12:30 PM - Dose
2:30 PM - Gaano Kadalas and Minsan
5:00 PM - Si Baning, Si Maymay, at Ang Asong Si Bobo
7:30 PM Paano Ko Sasabihin?
9:15 PM - Bala Bala

November 15, 2009 Sunday
12:30 PM - Confessional
2:30 PM Nagalit Ang Buwan Sa Haba ng Gabi
5:00 PM- Serbis
7:30 PM Lola
9:55 PM - Maximus & Minimus

November 16, 2009 Monday
12:30 PM - Tambolista
2:30 PM - Palabra De Honor
5:00 PM - Tirador
7:15 PM - Wanted: Border
9:10 PM - Paano Ko Sasabihin?

November 17, 2009 Tuesday
12:15 PM - Altar
2:00 PM - Bakit Manipis Ang Ulap?
4:30 PM - Masahista
5:50 PM - Himpapawid
8:00 PM - Bala Bala
9:50 PM - Si Baning, Si Maymay, At Ang Asong Si Bobo

Review: The Hurt Locker


Kathryn Bigelow has balls. Super-alpha macho balls. In “The Hurt Locker”, Bigelow has crafted a first- rate war picture about elite soldiers disarming bombs in Iraq enough to make Oliver Stone crap in his pants and whisper, “Intense.” Yes, this is your “Not Another Iraq War Movie”. Here, the tension is palpable, the characters are complex and in the film’s most thrilling moments, you’ll catch your heart up your throat.

Okay, let’s just pretend “K19: The Widowmaker” never happened. In her triumphant comeback, Bigelow fleshes out an absorbing character drama while shrewdly avoiding the usual trappings of a Hollywood war movie. She can now stand beside ex-husband James Cameron and wear a “My Balls is Bigger Than Your Balls” shirt and get away with it.

Jeremy Renner gives a career-making performance as an arrogant EOD officer completely hooked on adrenaline. If the movie keeps its steam till December, he might just snag an Oscar nom. Don’t go to the restroom or you’ll miss the cameos of Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin To Host Oscars!


Funnymen Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will share hosting chores at the 82nd Academy Awards. This was announced by Oscar telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman last November 3.

Uhmm. That�s a welcome surprise although I was kind of rooting for Neil Patrick Harris after his superb showmanship at this year�s Emmys.

With Baldwin in, I bet my Tracy Jordan t-shirt that the show would be littered with a few Tina Fey jokes.

Incidentally, both Baldwin and Martin appear with Meryl Streep in the Christmas release �It�s Complicated�.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Movie Capsule Reviews: Cinemanila 2009 Part 3




*KARAOKE (Chris Chong), Malaysia, 2008
stars: Zahiril Adzim, Nadiya Nissa
Boring has a new name. And it's "Karaoke". Watching this piece of Cannes trash is like driving rusty needles into your eyes. What a dull, indulgent crapper! The plot, if you could call it that, revolves around Betik, a young man who comes home to help in his family's karaoke business. When not busy staring at nothing, Betik indulges in the most boring of movie courtships with a woman called Anisah. The rest of it was all hazy as I was too busy snoring my ass off. There's nothing to be missed though. I woke up as the film shifts to an excruciating ten-minute scene showing how a factory processes palm oil. I kid you not. Only the most indulgent artsy-fartsies would find meaning in this pointless exercise. Good torture material.
Verdict: BOMB! Avoid!



*HUNGER (Steve McQueen), UK/Ireland, 2008
stars: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham
Like a centerpiece in a sparse living room, there is a radiant 16- minute scene in the middle of “Hunger” that features a conversation between Irish Republican martyr Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and a prison chaplain (Liam Cunningham) about the rationale and ethics of a hunger strike. This single-take scene officially puts the “serious actor” stamp on Fassbender’s resume and “OMG-what-is-he-going-to-do-next?!” on Steve Mc Queen’s.
Alternately disturbing and mesmerizing, “Hunger” recreates the last six weeks of the life of hunger striker Sands and the brutality administered to him and several IRA inmates in the infamous Maze prison. By the film’s final third, Michael Fassbender joins Emile Hirsch, Tom Hanks and Christian Bale in the multiple choice question: “Who lost the most weight for a movie role?”


Verdict: 3 stars



*LITTLE ZIZOU (Sooni Taraporevala), India, 2008
stars: Sohrab Ardeshir,Boman Irani
What happens when you put India’s Parsi superstars in one movie? You’ve got a charmless family comedy that will make you want to curse your misfortune for even giving it the time. “Little Zizou” follows a little boy caught in the middle of a cartoonish family feud in the Parsi community. This uber-Parsi movie should appeal to Indian audiences, but for non- Indians like me and my uber-bored friend, you’ll find yourself checking your watch more than usual. We just failed to connect with it. Not even the presence of superstar John Abraham can lend energy to this travesty. And what’s the deal with the mambo dancing and Besame Mucho group singing?
Verdict: 1 star



*SAMSON AND DELILAH (Warwick Thornton), Australia, 2009
stars: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson
It’s a good thing that this is the last film I saw at Cinemanila. Somehow, it breaks the chain of crap-ola movies I saw the past few days and leaves the whole festival on a good note. Warwick Thornton’s piercing cinema is a quiet exploration of adolescent love between two aboriginal fringe-dwellers set in the barren Central Australian desert. Samson is a petrol-sniffer lost in music while Delilah is a traditional dot-painter forced to take care of her ailing grandmother. Thornton’s almost wordless film expands as the lovers confront substance abuse, poverty and racism. Slow in certain parts but don’t zone out, there is so much beauty in this picture to be ignored. The performances are heart-wrenching and the scenery will leave you breathless. A convincing snapshot of the destitute lives of Australian aborigines.
Verdict: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scoop: "500 Days" Cutie Chloe Moretz To Star in "Let The Right One In" Remake!


If you've seen "500 Days of Summer" (and if you haven't already, I hope you will), you surely would have noticed that scene-stealer who played Joseph Gordon Levitt's "insightful" younger sister. Precociousness! That superstar-to be is Chloe Moretz and she's slated to appear as the lead in the remake of Swedish vampire masterpiece, "Let the Right One In".

The dumbed-down Hollywood remake will be called "Let Me In" and will be directed by Matt Reeves, he of Cloverfield fame.

The film follows a young bullied boy who befriends a young female vampire living in secrecy with her guardian. You can read my capsule review of the original Swedish film here. Rounding up the cast are Richard Jenkins and Jimmy Pinchak.

Will this give "Twilight" a run for its money? Ahh, ewan.

Reviews: 500 Days of Summer


Just when I’ve lost my faith in romantic comedies, Marc Webb’s “500 Days of Summer” comes along and singularly redeems the genre. What’s not to love about this film? IT IIIIIS lovable. You got that big scoop of wonderful named Zooey Deschannel in her Golden Age of Hotness. Then there's Joseph Gordon- Levitt (who was smashing in "Brick", by the way) looking like the cooler younger brother of Heath Ledger.

It has a delightfully poignant story that charms you and leaves you hugging yourself. Plot is simple enough: Boy and Girl hooks up then breaks up. Boy reflects back on their brief relationship and hops around between the good and bad times.

And then there’s THE music. Yes, the caps-lock is intentional. People who read me well know that I’m a sucker for pop films – those rare pieces of modern cinema that features an atmospheric use of pop songs. “Almost Famous” is one. “Garden State” is another. “500 Days..” completes the trio.

You can probably tell by now that I'll be singing hossanas to this movie but you should've seen me inside the theatre. I was frothing in the mouth.


The film opens with a funny disclaimer (the one that ends with “Bitch") and sets its achronological narrative with Regina Spektor’s “Us”. We are then introduced to Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt), a hopeless romantic convinced that he’s found the girl of his dreams in Summer Finn (Deschanel) the first time he sees her at his workplace. Problem is, Summer is a pragmatic tease and a commitment-phobe. And she's not the type to subscribe in the idea of "love", no sir, she likes Tom but she wants them to be friends. But anyway, somewhere between Day 1 and Day 500, he still gets to win her. And bed her.

The film then inventively charts the couple's descent to heartbreak with lots of witty dialogue and slick visual gags (the splitscreen! the splitscreen!). All the while, we are treated to a string of pop songs that are just pure gold: "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths, "Bookends" by Art and Garfunkel, and "Veni Vidi Vici" by The Black Lips. When I heard the strings of Carla Bruni's "Quelqu'un ma dit", I exploded in spasms of joy.


The love affair with pop culture doesn't stop there: there's a nod to Mike Nichols' "The Graduate", a reference to Rene Magritte's works and a wink at JD Salinger (Bananafish!). In one of the film's brightest moments, Gordon-Levitt does a funky Astaire to a Hall & Oates number. With all its showiness, Gordon-Levitt and Deschannel still both manage to stay afloat and deliver realistic and sensitive performances.

By the film's end, I have already edified it in my heart. Let me have my pa-feeling authority declaration: this generation just got their "An Affair To Remember". Their "Annie Hall". Their "Love Story". A movie that so exactingly captures a whole era's romantic sensibility and its quirks. My God, in one scene, Tom and Rachel discusses love while playing Wii! This is just too much goodness in one movie.

Rating: 5 big fat stars (as fat as Kirstie Alley in Fat Actress)
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