Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Movie Review: Heh-Ree Pot-Tah (the Finally Final Chap-Tah... Or Rickman Really Rocks)

We are so in that they're bringing
the Smurfs back because we made
being blue look cool.
In writing and posting about a movie rather belatedly, we may be able to establish if: 1) the movie was memorable enough to leave stuff in my head that i can still write about days after, and; 2) i can still get hits on this patheric blog despite the fact that it's way late, and Potter readers are composed of billions of neo-literati kids who are blogging about the "Deathly Hallows 2" (which is effectively Harry Potter Part 2 of Part 7) endlessly among themselves.

So screw this, but what the heck...

We caught the Harry Potter finale on the very first day of showing, and proceeded to rediscover the magic that is Robinsons Movieworld in Galleria. The magic is that any movie, no matter how big and successful all over the movie-going popcorn-devouring planet will still face short lines (if any), and half-empty cinemas at the Galleria. And add to that the attractive prospect of not having a lot of shops in the mall worth the wifey's time and money, then you got yourself the perfect mall for the penny-pinching on-the-run corporate rat like me.

Now on to Hogwarts...

This movie doesn't pretend to be anything but a wrap-up session for the entire Potter series. Everything that those pre-pubescent Potter-phile aliens costume-playing in black graduation togas and cringe-inducing pseudo-British accents read will happen pretty much happened. And yes, i thought Harry was going to die. Don't care if he did, don't care if he didn't. But i actually walked into the cinema expecting a heroic Harry death scene and a horde of sobbing Potter-geeks blowing their pimply noses at the cinema lobby after the movie.
"No, Harry... i didn't screw
yer mom... But i had a wet dream
about it once, then i went ta
Dumblebore an' he proceeded
to tell me that i will hafta kill ya
in Book 7.

But no, we all got ourselves a happy ending, and the rightful redemption of Alan Rickman. Not Severus Snape. I don't give a rat's ass about Snape. But I've adored Rickman since "Diehard" (the one-man-army movie that spawned a gazillion pseudo-sequels and suddenly made Chuck Norris retro-cool for no reason and connection to the movie other than that he exists.). It was fitting that Rickman comes out the hero for once in his cool, sinister-English-guy career. Hell, terrorism was actually cool when it came with the name "Hans Gruber."

Now can we have Rickman playing a bad guy in an "Iron Man" sequel so Bob Downey can fight cool with cool and they can subsequently freeze and shatter all box office records together in an explosion of infinite cool?

So much cool...

'catch you later.

P.S. While I agree that Emma Watson grew up to be rather fetching, and that my having a daughter makes it so many levels of wrong that i "almost" found myself amused at the fact that the world practically watched her mammaries grow every half-inch for the past decade into a viewable cleavage, I must object to her objectifying and the mediarazzi putting her on a supermodel pedestal.
She is hot, yes. But she is extra hot because we all know she's mind-numbingly rich at this early point in her young life. And she looks all the more prettier, because Rupert Glint grew up ugly and Daniel Radcliffe seems to still haven't decided on whether or not the closet fits.
But i apologize in advance to Rupert Glint, who i've come to gather is a fine gentleman, like most Englishmen in the media. At least with him we're sure which bathroom he goes into.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Cirque was in Town (My Review of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai)

So the circus was in town. But not just any circus. This was Vegas staple showstopping Cirque du Soleil's wagon train version, Varekai. But before i could bellow to Aimee to: "FIND ME CHEAP TICKETS AT ONCE!!!" the indomitable Mia Lao informs me that she will generously transfer to me circus tickets gifted to her by some little company called BDO.

But there were only two tickets, and the entire area and the concerned dates had already been blocked off. No way to buy an additional ticket for Marge.

But there was a funky loophole...

"So here's the plan," i said, "we bring Marge, and tell those blowhards that she's only two years old, which should qualify her for free entrance on the condition that she sit on either of our laps." It seemed like a workable plan, until the day of the show when i noticed upon getting home that the wifey hadn't dressed the kid up. Bad sign.

She proceeded to tell me how she really didnt think it was a good idea to put ourselves in the potentially embarrassing situation of having to convince people that Margaret the Soon-to-be-a-Giant was not the above-average sized three-year old she really was. So off we two went to the circus... Or the "Cirque" to be more specific (and pseudo-sophisticated).

And i proceeded to be blown away.

I won't bother to talk about the acts and the eye-candy quality of the sets and costumes since google can do a much better job of that than me. But yes, save for the earnest, but sometimes dragging clown segments, almost every acrobatic act was literally breathtaking. There was no such thing as wasted space on the stage as practically every corner had something interesting to offer to wandering eyes. The live music was excellently haunting and colorful, while the vocalists (especially the male lead) were either beautifully, yet wordlessly eloquent, or i should take up some Algerian lessons to get the so-odd-its-cool gibberish chant-singing a la Sting's "Desert Rose."

The fiery double-swing finale pretty much unhinged my jaw to the ground and made me drag it all the way home. And then and there, i had concluded that i had never found myself so properly entertained by so many suicidal foreigners.

Even the wifey was impressed.

By the time of this posting, the fantastic cirque troupe must be midway through their last and final set on this last night of their Manila tour. And tonight will be the last night that the Luneta cleaning crew will rub off tracks on the floor left behind by jaws like mine.

'catch you later.
a last look at the Grand Tapi-something tent
en route to the van...

P.S. My only regret on that show was the crowd not giving the troupe the proper send off for the evening by way of an extended standing ovation. They totally deserved it. But yes, i definitely stood in applause and respect.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pointless thoughts from last weekend... (071711)

Thoughts from last Sunday... posted just now.

It's Sunday, and we've done the basics... Went to church, had lunch with Pops, threw Marge on the Shang's carousel... And while i mindlessly sit in a couch somewhere while the wifey wanders around, and Marge is snoring away in her stroller, i reflect on a few things today...

* * * * * * * *

The priest's homily today was unnecessarily defensive. He was indirectly referring to the recent SUV story/"scandal" regarding the bishops.

Something about nobody being perfect and all... We get it, dude. You're barking up the wrong tree. The guys going to church don't care about the imperfections of the the church. Believe it or not, we understand.

One of my favorite priests, let's call him Father Artie, is probably one of the most imperfect priests in the world. He drinks, he goes to buy-me-a-drinkie bars, and he responds to friendly cajoling with the statement "tao rin naman kami..." News flash, he's a damn good priest who is loved by every congregation who he has served in. And his admitted humanity makes his wisdom no less valid in our eyes.

Another news flash: he's supposedly a qualified annulment lawyer, and he drives a handsome blue pick-up truck that the church issued to him for his use. I sure don't mind.

No apologies asked. None given. None necessary.

* * * * * * * *

A few minutes earlier, sleepy Marge knocked over a full cup of hot chocolate while trying to reach for it. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Except for Margaret's ego, and she was crying in embarrassment.
Because every other f*cking adult around us was staring at the little sea of chocolate with a four-legged island in the middle as though they had never spilled a goddamn drink all their pathetic lives. It's as though their children have never spilled drinks in public before. WASSAMATTAH, HYPOCRITES? A sleepy little girl deserves "the look" for designing Starbucks' Signature Chocolate Puddle? Go back to your pathetic excuses for lives, losers.
* * * * * * * *
'catch you later.
P.S. have a great week ahead, and do not stare at children who had accidents. Yes, you. i'm talking to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comic Book Review: The Filipino Heroes League, Book One (Better Value than a Two-Piece Chickenjoy Meal, which will cost pretty much the same, i think...)

After being underwhelmed by Summit’s “Underpass,” and left almost indifferent by the “Philippine Comics Anthology” despite Neil Gaiman’s name on the cover, I found Book One of “Filipino Heroes League” by Paolo Fabregas when I suddenly wandered into Sketchbooks at Greenbelt.

So this “Paolo Fabregas” guy who supposedly wrote and drew it was apparently THE Paolo Fabregas. Brother of hottie Lara, and son of cool actor guy Jaime. But we’re here to talk about the book… (of course, if this was at least 16 years ago, we might be talking about Lara… but blogging hadn’t really been done yet back then… but I digress…)

click me to see me bigger...
I was skeptic, to say the least, but the whole “third world superhero” thing sort of got me. That, and the image of masked men running into action on a pedicab. At least the image on the back cover told me quite clearly that whoever did this book doesn’t take himself too seriously (unlike the people who put together stuff for the two aforementioned books. More on them some other time).

The story follows the adventures of the titular super team, who, at the point of the book’s supposed writing, are little more than a shell of its former glory. They are a typical government agency who are underfunded, undermanned, and somewhat a joke. Naturally, there are plotholes all over the thing, but the good intentions and self-deprecation more than makes up for those. The involvement of the government, politics, and the media make the story very, very Pinoy.

click me...
The characters are quite promising and might have interesting back stories if this series finds itself a willing investor, or even sponsors. The core of the team are: “Kidlat Kid,” the team’s resident speedster and joker. Easily the writer’s favorite. “Flashlight,” the current leader, and the only one of the “old heroes” that remains, is a chain-smoking womanizer. “Invisiboy,” the good-hearted dimwit/stiff, who can predictably enough, turn invisible.

The good: it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the dialogue isn’t hokey. The English is pretty much free of glaring grammatical errors such as those I found on “Underpass” and the “Anthology.” The characters could use some work, but the personality mix isn’t bad. Oh, and I would have probably gotten more of the “third world” feel if there was more “salitang kanto” peppered into the book. The Philippines is a bilingual country, so I would personally predict that this book could have been more effective if this was also bilingual. Perhaps a bilingual edition is in order for the local kids? Just a suggestion.

Paolo Fabregas could have gotten some help to come up with a more amusing set of powers, but chose to keep it simple enough for the hopefully supportive third-world reader. Good move. The subtle humor is also distinctively Pinoy, but understandable enough for any reader.

The story was amusing enough to keep me reading until I finished the book in a day and a half, which is more than what I can say for other local comics.

The bad: The art wasn’t “bad,” but given the world-renowned talent of Pinoys in the art field, this could have been better. With all due respect to Fabregas, the storytelling was effective, but the faces and body language were inconsistent. My non-professional advice to Fabregas: you have a strong concept, bro. Write it, pencil in some breakdowns, and find someone else to finish up the art.

The book should also have been published in the typical comic book size to give it a better comic book feel. But that’s trivial.

The verdict: if this book gets more support, then it might have legs, and even a real life. With local pulp comic serials virtually gone, there is a void that needs to be filled in the local literary world. Best of all, this book wasn’t trying hard to be smart, clever, preachy, or even artsy. It simply had a concept, and carried it through into an entertaining enough story. Yes, it was far from perfect, but it was actually fun.

At only two hundred bucks, it was worth a try, and honestly wasn’t a waste.

Hell, I’d buy the next chapter right now if it was out. You should, too. But buy this one first.

‘catch you later.

For more information, check out: http://www.filipinoheroesleague.com/
* all images are protected by copyright of the creator and/or publisher (or something like that). just don't mess with them so my ass won't get sued.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Things I would have tweeted while in China...

All these railings and bannisters
in the Forbidden City are made
purely of marble.
So if you're wondering
where we Chinese lost ours,
you know where to look.
Things I would have tweeted while we were in China last May:
  • it's amazing how most buildings in Beijing are covered in tiles. So I assume the pervading bathroom-like smell is psychological.
  • but despite having made most of their city look like a bathroom, why do way too many mainlanders smell like they haven't bathed in days?
  • sandstorm from the gobi desert. Can't see a single cloud. I think the pollution is deliberately made by the communist government to prevent people from seeing silver linings.
  • I'm also guessing that the gobi sandstorms caused the mainlanders to evolve chinky eyes.
  • the tour guide just pointed out the main government building to our left. Looks like a Buddhist temple.
  • It costs 200k rmb fine for an additional kid due to the one-child policy. Abortion is cheaper and probably more legal.
  • Walking around Tiananmen square. Hope no one starts a revolt or we get gunned down.
  • Why hordes are lining up to hang out at place where the people got slaughtered is beyond me.
    tiannanmen square
  • warming up in the van after trekking through a small section of the Great Wall. Damn freezing without a jacket, but the sheer scale is awesome. This is one of those few times that i can honestly say that the postcards totally understated the real thing.
  •  i have officially experienced and therefore confirm that facebook, twitter and youtube are inaccesible in Mainland China. Mark Zuckerberg can now lay claim to having the dictators of 1.6 billion people officially afraid of him.
    the fatter guy on the plane
  • flying out of Beijing. Cant... Move... Arms... Damn... Obese... Guy... At... Left... Of... Plane... Seat... But if the plane crashes, you will save me, because you are soft and large and will weather any impact. But you stink.
  • finally in Hong Kong again. Can't make snide remarks in Tagalog on ugly and fat people. You'll never know if they're Filipino. Too many Filipinos. 
China entry officially over.

Pink Floyd's got nothing on THIS wall.
 'catch you later.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Delayed Movie Review: Thor (Why Chris Hemsworth Must Die)

For the record, i was once ripped. Totally.
Just to get that out of my once-ripped chest.

I have a stinking suspicion that Chris Hemsworth is not a real human being. His uncanny resemblance to a certain Mr.Pitt suggests that he is a clone. Hence, all these drooling women are fools, and the clones must die or expire into a puddle of Australian goo. Chris Hemsworth must die.

I have also started hearing some buzz from the unenlightened that the Hemsworth performance as Thor seems to be at par with that of the great Bob Downey Jr. as Iron Man. That is pure blasphemy. Bob as Iron Man is unparalleled except by the late Chiristopher Reeve as Superman. But Reeve gets handicap points for his spinal cord injury and the fact that he has kicked his bucket. So Bob now remains in his own stratosphere.

Grand sets, nuanced performances, and Sir Anthony Hopkins turn the cosmic/mythic/fish-out-of-water schtick into a story that simply works. Screw realism, this is a superhero movie that was entirely in clear and present danger of turning into "Clash of the Nordic Titans" but pulled it off quite nicely.
The guys at DC can take notes here and finally get their Wonder Woman project out of the shelf and off the fucking ground.

'catch you later.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday to me again... 2011

Well now, I’m not sure who else among you is out there. But hey, here I am again. I’m not sure for how long, nor for how often, but I’m back.

Just came home from another all-you-can-eat dinner with a bunch of guys who can no longer afford to eat all they can or they get sick, weak, and die. Dinner was on me since I just turned 38 yesterday. Another dinner filled with old friends, old jokes, old stories, a few new reactions to those old stories, and pretty much just sitting there glad to be reminded that there are things in the world that haven’t really changed all that much. Sometimes that’s the biggest thing old friends do anyways. So happy birthday to me. Whoopee.

Seriously. Whoopee. Pardon me for excluding exclamation points here, but I really am happy today.

I take stock of my life and I have absolutely nothing to complain about except being 5 foot 5 inches. And even that is solved by an old pair of Nike Shox, along with looking for shorter people to hang out with.

Life still isn’t perfect, but it really shouldn’t be anyways. You just have to keep staying interested, as well as hoping and working to make things better. You stop doing that, you’re a zombie.

* * * * * * * *

After turning myself in to be dragged around the Medical City like a lab rat for the better part of Friday, celebrity doctor Oyie Balburias hands me the proverbial clean bill of health today. I’d be jumping for joy if my knees weren’t so shot, and I wasn’t at least 20 pounds overweight.

Had my teeth cleaned last Saturday, then a haircut. Spent the rest of the entire weekend drifting through town with the wifey and the kid. Margaret’s starting ballet this week, and the wifey’s just learned to cook up Spanish food. So what me worry? Absolutely nothing.

Whoever you are, welcome back to Broken Record.

‘catch you later.