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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things 005: Starbucks Christmas Traditions 2007 Redemption Card

Well, it's the season once again to collect stamps for a copy of limited Starbucks 2008 Planner. This means that I will be frequenting Starbucks to get a serving of caffeine and hypertension. For this year, 24 cups of coffee (and/or tea, including my all-time favorite Tazo tea, passion fruit flavor) are required to be purchased and 12 of it must be Christmas-inspired drinks like toffee nut latte, praline mocha and peppermint coffee which I am not really a fan of. As of presstime, I still need to get 13 more stamps. I just remind my self that the best things in life are free.

Movie Digest # 029

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, November 21, 8:20pm

Avoid this film. Feel free to walk out in the first ten minutes. Pretentious, phony, pathetic. The saving grace: the nice domes in Russia used in most of the action sequences.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who haven’t seen a film for ten years.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 1, November 24, 12:30pm

Whether I like the film or not, the answer is yes, I like the film. Here are the reasons: less Star Cinema-tic in terms of cinematography (read: glossy) and characterization, the actors are good (if only GMA-7 could produce at least one John Lloyd Cruz), the direction is well thought of but not pretentious (and far better than Jose Javier Reyes’) and most especially, the script has a lot of “relate” factor. Some scenes will make you cry not because the actors are literally crying but simply because the lines will somewhat hit that soft spot in you. It’s either you’re currently in their shoes or you’ve been there, done that. The scriptwriter(s) must have undergone and coped up the spell of love, pain, heartbreak and moving on. Move over, Mel Mendoza-del Rosario.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who had just switched to Clear Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

How Green was my Valley (if I have One)

Last Friday was well spent with two major things: (1) staring at a wonderful text message from time to time and (2) killing the rest of the night while enjoying Repertory Philippines’ “Fiddler on the Roof” and a cup of White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks. The musical is good, actually (eventhough it ran for almost three hours). I was with three of my officemates and it was my first time to watch it (either film or stage production). During college, a boardmate lent me a copy of the OST with a Pavarotti-sounding musical actor as Tevye.

Well, “Fiddler on the Roof” pala is about a father and his struggles raising his five daughters during a tumultuous Russia. Most of the problems are lovelife-related. As expected, it wasn’t easy for the dad as he occasionally communes with God through a series of prayers highlighted by some twisted Biblical passages. The musical then is all about faith.

The show that we’ve seen was for the benefit of a Marian movement. It wasn’t surprising that most of the crowd were like members of Catholic Women’s League. Just the same, it was fun. I would always prefer buying a benefit ticket over those bought directly through Ticket World. Besides, I gained another friend in the person of Miss Malou Tuazon who captained the event. Right before leaving Greenbelt OnStage, Ma’am Malou asked me if I liked it and she hoped to see me in their future projects. Deal.

Saturday started at noon. I watched the Rito Asilo-acclaimed “One More Chance” from Star Cinema in Glorietta 4. I ended up teary-eyed in one of the scenes (aw!). Well, the film deserves my being part-time wussy. There’s one scene where John Lloyd drenched himself in the rain and shouted something like “kung magkakasakit kaya ako, kakausapin n’ya kaya ako?”

At 3pm past, I met Ruth at Music One. We had Burger King then proceeded later on to Greenhills (hence the title of this blog). I bought a Bangkok-imported t-shirt printed with “20th Century Fox” in glittery but shy silver (OK, it’s glittery silver but not that glittery, got it?) worth P250. We watched the COD-inspired display for five minutes then met Cat at Pasto. We all had pasta.

"Into the Woods” by New Voice Company ran also for three hours. It was staged at Music Museum (which explains why we’re at Greenhills Shopping Center). Well, I had no regret that I was seated in a not so butt-friendly balcony seat. The ensemble is good, the music is hummable and the local adaptation is a blast. Thanks to the cast spearheaded by the likes of Michael Williams, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Jamie Wilson, Tommy Abuel and a very promising kid wonder named Julia Abueva who played the girl in red riding hood. The only drawback of the production (if it is a valid point) is the absence of big and overwhelming sets similar to “The Little Mermaid” or “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” as staged locally by Trumpets. What we’ve seen was a couple of optimized blockings and a great musical direction (basically, musical theater at its low-budgeted best). The experience was like watching a theater production on tour.

Sunday came and came fast with a threat of an approaching typhoon. I just slept. In between waking-ups, I stared at the text message again and again.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Third Day of Night

I just realize that blogs start to get boring when you write about heartbreak, moving on and getting back at life. But come to think of it, blogs are meant to stand that and ideally designed to help us unburden the burden. Whatever the odds are, this is a statement: no more boring stuff.

I got a text message from Jesse yesterday that my beer buddies, Cueshé (no less, hahaha), will be performing at Cowboy Grill in Malate in the same evening. So I squeezed that in and gave a shot. Matagal ko na ring hindi nakikita ang banda. Besides, I have business with Jesse. He got me two signed CDs from Jed Madela and Ronnie Liang. Yeah, I am a big fan of signatures and Jesse’s a man of connections.

I left the apartment at quarter before midnight, wearing my black Rico Blanco shirt and faded black jeans. The cab ride itself was an experience as Manong Driver thanked me for waking him up through a hearty conversation. Bihira ‘yan na nakakatikim ako ng salamat para sa isang simpleng bagay (not that I’m waiting for it).

It was raining hard. May bagyo raw sa Bicol.

At midnight, I was already at Cowboy Grill’s door, waiting for Jesse. After a minute or two, he showed up and signalled me to go to Shakey’s instead. These establishments are erected on the same side facing Aristocrat and the overwhelming Rajah Sulayman edifice. At the al fresco section of the pizza parlor, Mike and Jovan greeted me while having a post-yosi session. The rest of the guys were inside the resto enjoying the company of another group (manager, few fans, etc.). After some small talk, we proceeded to the venue for the gig. By the way, we went to Cowboy Grill through the comfort room section of Shakey’s, skipping the P300-worth consumable entrance fee. There’s a not-so secret door there connecting the two restos. I realized later that they are sharing the same comfort room.

Hmm… the gig went fine. It’s like I haven’t been missing their repertoire for a long time now. I had a bottle of SMB Light and a shared plate of Calamares. I had a blast observing the drunkards (one of them requested for GNR’s “November Rain”, justifying that it’s the month of November and indeed it was raining). The band opted not to sing that but continued with the familiar covers like “Creep”, the Queen medley and more.

Bedtime at 2am. I missed staying late on a weekday and this is a good start. I can’t wait for more outtakes as Neverland always concocts something new and something difficult.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Hmm.... Day 1. Hahaha. Badminton in the evening at Pasong Tamo Extension with officemates. It's been ages since I last played so imagine the muscle pain right after the game. We called it a night just minutes ago. Then I took a cab back to my place.

Manong Driver was tuned in to Love Radio and the DJ was called something like Mr. Foo (or Fu?). By the way, this is the same station that keeps on bugging us with "Hi, Pangga!". Then Mr. Foo said something that cheered me up: "O, sa mga taxi driver, sabay-sabay n'yong tingnan at ngitian ang katabi n'yong pasahero ha. OK, 1...2...3... Tingin! Ngayon naman, mga passengers, sabay-sabay n'yong tingnan at ngitian ang inyong taxi driver. 1...2...3...!"

I stopped by at Sa Tabi along Reposo and had liempo and rice (a no-no!) and just enjoyed the cold early Christmas breeze.

And the Official Moving-On Song...

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head
Burt Bacharach
Popularized by B.J. Thomas

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me


It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me

Movie Digest # 028

SM Mall of Asia, Cinema 5, November 15, 9:40pm

Scarlett Johansson! Period.

Friends who might appreciate it: probably those who had read the book.

SM Mall of Asia, IMAX Theater, November 18, 3:00pm

I have a lot to say about this film but those are difficult to express in words (naks!). But let me try: pride is a killer but can be cheated and corrected, women like Angelina Jolie are monsters, and children complete parents and vice versa. Go ahead, call and reserve a seat at SM Mall of Asia’s IMAX Theater and exeperience the difference.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who appreciated “300”.

Mercury Retrograde

Beware! Astrology calls it “Mercury Retrograde” and this will last for 77 days (one article mentions that it will end on January 30 next year). Here’s a dose from

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this cosmic shadow-play.

And more:

In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially people who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves.

Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray, or awry.

It is therefore not wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is very likely that these decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde, these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!

I’ve checked how my weekend fared, validating if all these chaos already hit me. Well, last Friday, I was about to meet a friend who has my copy of Jessica Hagedorn’s “Dogeaters”. My book (and my friend) was nowhere to be found and I received no text whatsoever. I hurried to RCBC Plaza to catch the book signing and poured my heart out to poor Miss Hagedorn. She put something on the newly purchased book (a whopping P699 for a copy of “Dream Jungle”) that salvaged the day. With her signature, she asked my friend for being late with three “?’s”. I quipped with “That’s the coolest signature I’ve got”. She confirmed smilingly. “I know.”

Then came Saturday. One major blow came in the morning: a brink of separation (yes, I am/was connected and nobody noticed it, bwahahaha). I survived the morning with hope and denial. I caught Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Insiang” at 3pm and it was good. Really. I like the set, the acting, and the adaptation. Brocka should have seen this production. On my way back to my place, depression knocked me big time. I was really in denial. I wasn’t that strong. Then at 8pm, my friends and I watched the local staging of Hagedorn’s “Dogeaters”. It was fun for many reasons: I got Lea Salonga’s signature segued by an attempt to small talk right before the play began, the production is one of Pinoy theater’s shining moments, P400-worth balcony seat was worth it and I was at my best when I approached Miss Hagedorn for another signature. The day was punctuated with a cold, rainy evening with me burping with SMB Light.

Sunday was the worst (and hopefully the peak). After catching “Beowulf” at IMAX, which was a total experience on its own, and a poetic sunset at the bay, a misunderstanding ensued. Maybe it was I trying to cope. Or maybe not. Or it must be the sunset and the sadness it brings to any observer. Behind the darkened horizon, an epiphany just unfolded. Yes, I will be free. Thanks to Mercury.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Movie Digest # 027

Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, November 8, 7:20pm

Sorry but I don’t think the film deserves an A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board. Sayang pa naman ‘yung materyal, pwedeng ibenta sa ibang bansa. Siguradong maa-amaze ang ilan sa kabaong na pinaparentahan. It has the feel of “Kubrador” or “Foster Child” but the problem lies in the dialogue and direction, which is very pretentious for me. Hindi nakuha ang pagiging natural para mapaniwala ako sa grit na gustong ipakita ng pelikula. At hindi lang ‘yan. Ang script ay halos isambulat na lahat ng gustong ikwento. Kinakailangang magsalita ang mga karakter para magkwento. Piling pili rin ang mga artista na karamihan ay may karanasan sa teatro. Hindi rin ito nakontrol sa direction. Masyadong nag-effort sa aktingan ang ensemble na muli ay nakadagdag para magmukhang peke ang pelikula. Mas underacting pa ‘yung mga itim na dagang ginamit dito. Sayang.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who want to discuss anything under the sun and prefer a cinema ambiance for a venue.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, November 10, 1:45pm

One thing’s for sure: it’s talky but not the Tarantino or Scorsese kind of talky. It’s too talky that some scenes could be mistaken for acts from a straight play except, of course, for the film language (and less body movements). Siguro ay nasa tradition ng “Crash” sa pagpapakita ng cause-and-effect. It could be a film for political science students or for those already in the politics. Not for me but I can say that it’s still well made. Acting is also good. Direction is not bad and pretentious. Ang drawback lang para sa akin ay ‘yung pagiging idealistic n’ung character ni Robert Redford. Parang dito naging preachy ‘yung movie.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who aren’t running for President.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 3, November 10, 4:50pm

Funny but uninventive. Few laughs and that’s it. At one scene, a goon appears showing off his “balisong”. I was reminded actually of Pinoy comedies during the 80’s.

Friends who might appreciate it: Christopher Walken fans.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 4, November 13, 9:05pm

I almost skipped this one courtesy of a film review from PDI. But I feel like watching a film tonight and so I watched it. And good thing that I liked it. It's a film about two brothers separated by beliefs and later on reunited by it. It's also about paternal love. But this is an action film slash crime drama. In that department, it won't disappoint those who are used to watching story-oriented, action-packed films. Yes, you can still eat popcorn. It's just that the delivery is subtle, zenned up and natural. Thanks to the actors (Wahlberg, Phoenix and Duvall). At one scene, two policemen came to Duvall to deliver a bad news. Duvall then said, "Which child is it?". Some scenes are also visually stunning. It's my first time to see an exciting car chase where the POV is mostly inside the car running and crashing other cars amidst a heavy and almost blinding downpour of rain and where the sound comes overwhelmingly from the wiper as if simulating a heartbeat. Whoa!

Friends who might appreciate it: those who are tired of "Die Hard" and the likes.

Tatlong Sinehang Nagpabago sa Aking Buhay-Makasine

Ang tatlong sinehang nabanggit sa ibaba ay matagal nang nagsara ilang umaga matapos isilang ang cable TV sa aming bayan. Dalawa rito ay giniba na at pinalitan ng ibang establisimyento samantalang ang isa naman ay hinayaang mabulok.

Batang Felrose 1 and 2 ako tapos malapit pa sa Javelin ang Bldg 2 (ang aking “elementary” school). Kaya siguro ako naadik sa sine. Sarap manood n'un na merong ka-double. Kung sesewertehin ay tatluhan pa ang palabas sa presyong pangdalawahan! Malas laang kung mag-brown out dahil hindi mo alam kung kailan magkakailaw. Ya, ako ay hindi naalis sa upuan at baka merong mapalampas. Hehehe.

Felrose 1: ito 'yung malapit sa Talolong River sa may Magsaysay pero bahagi pa ito ng Brgy. Talolong. Pagpasok na pagpasok mo ay bilihan ng ticket agad sa kaliwa na kamukha ng usual na box office: nahaharangan ng bubog na meron laang maliit na butas na bilog sa may parteng gitna para magkarinigan kayo ng takilyera. Kapag hindi ka umakyat, Orchestra 'yan. Nand'yan din ang maliit na area para sa bilihan ng Marie at Coke na naka-plastic at may straw na stripe (may yellow at pink nito). Nasa area rin na 'yan ang ilang still pictures para masabik ka sa mapapanood mo. Kung suswertehen ay may teaser na rin d'yan ng mga coming soon. Pagbalik mo sa may bilihan ng ticket, nandyan naman ang hagdan papuntang Balcony. May bantay dyaan kaya ingatan mo ang ticket mo. Sa "second floor", merong CR sa kanan na may tatlo o dalawang baytang pababa. Sa kaliwa naman ay parang terasa na nakaharap sa highway. Presko 'yaang parte na 'yan at masarap tumambay kapag naghihintay magkailaw. May isa pang hagdan paakyat at 'yun na, sinehan na.

Felrose 2: ang entrance ay d'un sa may dating prutasan sa may Kalyanda (Calle Anda). Dadaan ka sa medyo mahabang pasilyo at sa dulo ay merong mataas na hagdan patungo sa Balcony. Nasa ibaba sa kaliwa ang bilihan ng ticket at minindal. Aakyat ka ng mga apat na baytang at liliko na pakaliwa ang mataas na hagdan. May maliit na lobby r'un na pwede mong tanawin ang mga bahay-bahay sa Brgy. Rizal. Isang baytang pa ay may option ka ulit: sa kaliwa ay stockroom o CR yata at sa kanan ay 'yung sinehan na mismo na nahaharangan ng itim na tela. Nanonood ako noon ng "Shake, Rattle and Roll" nang ako'y ipasundo dahil mag-aabay raw sa kasal. Yano, hindi ko na napanood 'yung "Spirit of the Glass" episode nina Joel Torre at Arlene Muhlach (pero alam kong nakaligtas si Janice sa rapist na pridyeder).

Javelin: ang natatandaan ko lang ay malaki ang lobby nito sa ibaba. May tindahan ng sitsirya sa kanan at katabi nito ang tindahan ng ticket. Ang buong dingding ng katabi ng tindahan ng ticket ay hitik na hitik sa mga movie poster ng tatlong palabas na sine. Nasa kaliwa ang entrance. Sa second floor, isang waiting area ulit at nandun na rin ang dalawang CR sa may dulo. Isa pang akyat sa may parteng kaliwa ng waiting area at sinehan na mismo. Hindi ako masyadong nakanood d'yan dahil ang tsismis ay nagsara raw 'yan dahil may nakitang malaking sawa n'ung unang panahon.

Sa pagwawakas ng 80’s sa Lopez, Quezon, umusbong na ang VHS at Betamax. Kung video rental naman ay suki ako sa Sevilla (o Oseña bago pa itong gawing Family Computer game shop). Ang mga bold ay nakatago d'un sa upuan sa sofa na naiiangat ang kutson (hehehe). Ang likod ng pinto ay hitik sa mga movie ads sa dyaryo na pina-xerox. Lahat pa orig ang mga kopya n'un. Sa kabila ng kaalwanan ng hindi paglabas ng bahay, may kakaibang engkanto pa rin ang panonood ng pelikula sa loob ng sinehan. Sa panahong ito na ako naging binatilyo.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Beyonce Experience

Yeah, I watched it live at Taguig’s open field (at the back of NBC Tent) yesterday. For free.

Here’s how I managed to grab a ticket. Wala talagang plano. I was only hoping for a free ticket from an officemate (male, nickname with three letters, tall, always sleeping at work). During lunchtime, I was informed that no extra free ticket was available. I was at Greenbelt 1 area, fetching five “Dogeaters” tix at the Prince Plaza office of Atlantis Productions. I stopped by at the Ticketworld booth inside the mall but decided to skip shedding some bucks for Beyonce.

OK. In the afternoon, I thought I was destined not to catch the concert (which was conveniently staged near our office). Until Jesse, a Cueshéan by heart (and soul? hahaha), gave away his ticket for an unknown reason. So there, at 8pm, I was still waiting for Clara (another Cueshéan), the third person, with whom I will be claiming my freebie. 8:20pm, got inside the pit just in time for the opening song “Crazy in Love”.

And here are the highlights and lowlights as far as I am, a beggar, is concerned:

1. The opening number had Beyonce singing a portion of Knarles Barkley’s “Crazy”. I liked that part;

2. Beyonce was sweating awkwardly in one number (thanks to the giant video wall);

3. My free ticket is a Patron B ticket and costs P1,000. Cheapest ticket in the market costs P600 (most expensive at P6,000?). I enjoyed my fellow jologs as we watched almost the entire show through the video wall (there’s a little girl dancing in the stage and that’s supposed to be Beyonce). At one point, in the middle of a dance act, the assigned wall in our area went blank and the crowd screamed “ooooh!” frustratingly. Then the projector started beaming back the default-digitized countdown before giving us the live feed. My crowd, as proud as we were, started shouting the countdown as well, stealing a scene from the other crowds (how come they didn’t have a countdown? hahaha);

4. No front act, I was informed;

5. I’ve seen a dozen costume changes and heard vocal acrobatics for two hours;

6. Two of my officemates watched the Dublin show and based on the pictures that they have shared with me, Manila wasn’t robbed of any theatrics (as commonly practiced in any Asian leg by an international act);

7. One of the official concert shirts has “Manila” spelled as “Manilla”. The usher made a nice attempt at selling. “Just like vanilla”, he said;

8. I’m not familiar with Beyonce’s discography but I recognized one song from “Dreamgirls”, as segued by a “Cell Block Tango” act from “Chicago”;

9. Last song was a "Happy Birthday" song. By then, I was already on my way out of The Fort. I saw a parked limo that, according to a Maximo Oliveros look-alike, brought the Sultan of Brunei to the venue. Someone even wisecracked with “Si Bella Aldama ang sakay n‘yan, gaga!”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Si Ben Templesmith at ang Purgatoryo sa Kampo-Santo*

*(formal theme writing naman, old-school, yebah!)

Wala nang sasarap pa sa mahigit isang linggong bakasyon sa probinsya (salamat, PGMA). Mula October 27 hanggang November 3, nasa pangangalaga lang ako ng aking mga magulang. Hilata rito, hilata roon. Bagsak din ang mga movie player (VCD at DVD) kaya’t wala akong ginawa kundi kumain at magbasa ng “The Golden Compass” ni Philip Pullman (na sa December 5 na raw ipapalabas sa mga suking sinehan).

Pero ang mahabang bakasyong ito ay sumabit lang sa All Saints Day at All Souls Day. Umuwi ako para magbigay pugay sa mga namayapa (napalampas ko ito n’ung isang taon dahil sa Utrecht assignment). Walang masyadong effort. Hindi na ako pinapabili ng nanay ko ng mga sariwang bulaklak sa Dangwa. Ayos na raw kung sa palengke sa bayan na lang bumili (o di kaya ay sa mga punerarya). Mas maalwan nga namang makipagsabayan sa mga umuuwi mula Maynila kung walang dalang sangkaterbang bagahe.

Sa bahay, nagbabasa pa rin ako ng “The Golden Compass” habang inaayos ng nanay ko ang mga bulaklak. Ilang chapters pa at tapos na pala ito, handa nang ialay. Ganun din ang mga kandila. Karaniwang inihahanda ito sa gabi bago mag-Undas.

Special request ko na sa umaga kami dumalaw sa kampo-santo. Walang masyadong tao, walang masyadong magtatanong kung kelan ako mag-aasawa (hehehe). At mataas ang araw sa umaga. Mahirap nang isugal kung sa hapon pa dadalaw dahil baka umulan. Urban myth sa bayan namin na parating umuulan tuwing November 1. Kung hindi ulan ay super typhoon.

Walang pinagbago ang town cemetery. Ganun pa rin. Ang ilang daanan ay hindi pa rin sementado. Maputik ang ilang bahagi. May stall na ngayon ang Mister Donuts sa bukana. Maliban dito ay wala nang bago sa magkakadikit na tindahan ng kandila, kakanin at e-load. May ilan akong kakilalang nakasalubong pero walang masyadong huntahan. Mas abala pa ako sa paglalakad kasama ng nanay ko. Sumabog sa ere ang mga kantang luma (“Andrew Ford Medina” ni Andrew E) at bago (isang sikat na kanta ni Akon).

Walang masyadong kwento. Sa gabi ay hindi na ako lumabas. Masaya pa naman sa sementeryo namin kapag gabi. Parang night swimming sa White Beach sa Puerto Galera sa kalagitnaan ng tag-araw. Andaming tao. Maingay. Parang town fiesta. Tinapos ko na lang ang libro at nagpakaermitanyo.

Nakabalik ako sa Makati n’ung sumunod na Sabado, November 3. Ipinako ko agad ang lamesang ginawa ng tatay ko para sa ilang abubot. Bandang alas-2 ng hapon, nasa Greenbelt 3 na ako para sa pelikulang “30 Days of Night”. 5pm, Fully Booked sa High Street naman para sa book signing ni Ben Templesmith, ang graphic novelist ng “30 Days of Night”. Masaya. May ilang pumunta pero hindi parang town fiesta.

Highlight ng book signing ang isang sketch jamming kasama si Ben at ilang kartonista. Nakakaaliw ang paggamit n’ya ng black marker sa isang obra na binuhusan ng Starbucks coffee bilang background color. Umuusok pa ang kape habang nilalatag sa illustration board. Kasing init nito ang kanyang pirma sa kopya ko ng comic book.

Itinulog ko na ang mga nalalabing oras para sa araw na ‘yun.

P.S. Salamat pala kay Nerissa Picadizo para sa mga larawan.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Movie Digest # 026

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1, October 25, 8:55pm

Not another political drama with an ensemble cast: Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin. Not in the league of “Traffic” or “Syriana” but “Rendition” is more engaging and popcorn crowd-friendly. Almost OK except for the ending that is very illogical. The film, by the way, is megged by the same director who gave us Oscars 2005’s Best Foreign Language Film, “Tsotsi” (South Africa).

Friends who might appreciate it: those who are brave enough to watch in any Ayala Mall cinema.

Power Plant, Cinema 4, October 26, 10:30pm

Oscar Best Picture, period.

Friends who might appreciate it: every film buff, friends and foes alike.

Greenbelt 3, Cinema 2, November 3, 2:00pm

Well, if its only intention is to scare, the film is a success. It’s both gory and scary. As compared to its original form, a grapic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (the latter just visited Manila), revisions are pretty obvious. The lead characters enjoyed the last sunset in the comic book while the film shows a marriage on the rocks. This is a plus point, I guess. The day counter in the film adds thrill though it requires an explanation why only on the last minute did the lead character choose to join the bandwagon. Also on the negative side (why do I sound like Nestor Torre, hahaha), the graphics in the novel is more “fresh”. The film didn’t capture much the remoteness that the comic book depicts.

Friends who might appreciate it: bloodsuckers!

Cine Europa 2007 Naman!

Diyeta muna (hehehe). Medyo tumapat din kasi sa long weekend at kailangang umuwi sa probinsya. Oh, well… Heto lang ang mga napanood ko:

1. Kolya (Czech Republic) – Isa yata ito sa mga sikat na entry sa filmfest. It’s both feel good and crowd-pleaser. Siguro kung napanood ko ‘to a few years ago, medyo bago pa ang concept. Pero andami nang nagawang pelikula tungkol sa isang lalakeng elderly na nag-alaga ng isang cute na cute na tsikiting. Sinahugan na lang ng konting relevance at tumalakay na rin sa kalagayan ng Czech at mga Ruso.

2. The Leap (Denmark) – May gustong ikwento ang pelikula. Tungkol ito sa “pagtalon” sa nakaraan upang bigyang solusyon ang kung anumang meron sa kasalukuyan. Isang may kaedarang lalake ang binigyan ng taning ng isang matandang doktor. Hindi makapaniwala ang lalake na malapit na s’yang mamatay dahil wala naman itong nararamdaman. At s’ya ay nagbalik tanaw. Isa sa mga ala-alang ito ay ang malikot na pagsibol kasabay ng isang kapit-bahay na babae. Nahuli sila minsan ng tatay ng babae at nagkaroon ng pagbabanta at pananakot. Sa kalaunan ay nadiskubre ng bidang lalake na ang doktor na nagbigay sa kanya ng taning at ang tatay ng kaibigan n’yang babae ay iisa.

3. FC Venus (Finland) – Very mainstream ang pelikulang ito. Hindi naman masama. Tungkol ito sa mga kababaihang nakipagpustahan sa kanilang mga nobyo o asawa para sa isang laban ng soccer o football. Ang hamon ay naganap dahil ang mga kalalakihan ay lasing na sa sports na ito at ang mga kababaihan ay namamalimos ng panahon at pagtingin. Comedy ang genre. Sex comedy to be exact.

4. Umbrellas of Cherbourg (France) – Hindi ko alam kung nagustuhan ko talaga ang pelikulang ito. Siguro for the experience, oo. Kakaiba ang musical na ito. Sung-through, walang main theme o sugarry theme song na pwedeng ihanay sa “West Side Story” at iba pa. Parang ang mga tauhan ay tila nag-uusap sa paraang may tono at malambing. Nakatulong naman kahit papaano na ang musika ay isinulat ng batikang si Michel Legrand (“Windmills of my Mind”, etc.). Mas experimental siguro ang pelikulang ito kesa mainstream. Subukang tanggalin ang musika at ang maiiwan ay isang manipis na kwento ng pagmamahalan, pag-asa at paglimot.

5. The Leopard (Italy) – Isa raw ito sa mga pelikulang kailangang mapanood bago ka mamatay. Ang unang impression ko: Peque Gallaga’s “Oro, Plata, Mata” less the brutality of war and nudity. Mahaba ang pelikula. Lumakbay ito ng tatlo at kalahating oras pero hindi ako nabato. Mala-Vic Silayan si Burt Lancaster dito (pasenya na at masyado akong pro-Pinoy ngayon). May ilang eksenang parang gusto mo nang tapusin (o i-pause, kung DVD ang format), masyadong talky para sa iba. Pero hindi ganito ang buong produkto. Sa umpisa ay marangya at mabilis ang mga pangyayari samantalang sa may dulo, bago matapos, ay bumagal na at naging payak. Meron yatang punto ang direktor dito. Ang huling imahe sa pelikula ay kamukha ng ilang eksena sa “Death in Venice” na mahusay ring idinirehe ni Luchino Visconti.
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