Da Couch Tomato

An attempt at a new layout, with horrible glitches, and very minimal knowledge of HTML.

The Visitor

(Another one of those I-should-have-reviewed-this-months-ago reviews)

Christopher Pike has a few formulas in writing a teen (or pre-teen?) novel. One of them is write in a hot, ethereal chick (and I am conscious of the term "chick"), a slightly villainy blond bimbo with big boobs, the all-around good dependable guy, the quiet and deep guy, put in funny extras, a cemetery, a Ouija board, a murder, some aliens or new age science shit, and then allusions to or actual ghosts, blood-letting (or stealing), and zombies.

Also, he has a thing for the name "Mary" and unnecessary sex.

I read this novel in a time of confusion and depression, trying so hard to cling to my childhood past. And it did work, somehow. Even though now, looking from the point of a view of being a hopefully more knowledgeable student of writing (and the whole thing is just really a sloppy novel), I actually enjoyed it more than I would enjoy Twilight. I think I'm still proud that I was obsessed with Pike as a high school student (but I actually first read him when I was in fourth grade -- I tend to obsess for a long time). It may not be as pretentious as Twilight on intelligence, but it makes up for that absence with weirdness and interesting trivia.

I mean, I never would have learned about the details (or perils) of scuba diving if it weren't for Pike. Or even the Vietnam war. He manages to put those stuff in his books. It's like he's giving short lectures. And in this one, he gives a lecture on Egypt's history.

So even if this book was outright sexist (at one point the alien "objectively" pointed out that women are, hands down, the weaker sex, not counting the horribly what-the-fuck but i-am-in-awe-with-this-diss: "having sex with you is like rollerskating on ice" remark) and downright stupid, this is the kind you read before moving on to the more "serious" but definitely boring stuff. Because at the end of it all, I think people should read books to be happy; well, at the very least, to entertain themselves. You can have all the wisdom in the world, but only a few people will listen to you because you are so goddamn boring.



The Taking of Pelham 123

There are very few directors I'd watch without even knowing what their movie's about. And Tony Scott is one of them.

First of all, this was actually a remake of a 1974 film, which starred Walter Matthau. That version I haven't seen. But in this version, the screenplay wasn't that bad. But it wasn't that good either. It was just...plain. But a plain script in the hands of Tony Scott turns into something more beautiful. I just love Tony Scott's directing style, which at times makes his movies look like music videos. This is a far cry from the more serious filmmaking style of his brother Sir Ridley.

The performances, however, were terrific. John Travolta is always a treat to watch, as is my main man Denzel, who knows how to deliver an intense performance without overacting. Actually, both of them can. John Turturro is such a versatile actor that he works well both in comedic and serious roles. But I'm sorry, James Gandolfini...you will always be Tony Soprano to me.

I also couldn't help but notice that two stars from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are here, namely John Turturro and Ramon Rodriguez. (Told you this guy would go places. He has now starred in two summer movies.) And we also have James Gandolfini and Michael Rispoli, who both appeared in The Sopranos. And John Turturro and Luis Guzmán, who appeared together in Anger Management. Talk about reunions.

And finally, I'd just like to say that those who don't stay for a movie's end credits should start doing so. I stayed for the end credits of this film, and I found it interesting that there were not that many people who worked on this movie. Maybe Tony Scott just likes small production groups. Compare this to the end credits of Revenge of the Fallen, which was probably ten times as long. So shorter credits means less people, which means less special effects, which means more drama. And the dramatic showdown between Travolta and Denzel is the entire essence of this movie.

*some info from IMDb
pic from aceshowbiz.com

The Taking of Pelham 123. USA. 2009.

Rating: Seven out of ten.


Yes Man

(This is one of those reviews I need to jot down because they're already rotting inside my head as I've seen this movie two months ago.)

Meh. It's okay. But meh. It's okay. But meh.

I can be quite indecisive.

Three reasons to watch it:

1. Jim Carrey sings and plays the guitar!
2. Danny Masterson! Hyde of That 70's Show is always the douchebag friend!
3. I really have a thing for Jim Carrey when he's not twisting his face in a supposedly funny way but ends up being scary.

Basically, it's Liar Liar meets Bruce Almighty.



Music Icons: Michael Jackson

And now, we mourn the passing of the King of Pop.

The young'uns might not know how big Jacko was during his time. After all, they wouldn't name him the King of Pop for nothing.

Michael Jackson brought the moonwalk from the B-boy underground to the mainstream. He also has the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. This was the time before file sharing; when they said you've sold a hundred million records, you really sold a hundred million records. He also composed "We are the World" with Lionel Richie, which was the theme song for USA for Africa. MJ also collaborated with the other MJ, Michael Jordan, on the video for the song "Jam". And Michael Jackson eventually also bought the Northern Songs catalog, beating Sir Paul McCartney to ownership of the Beatle songs. Nice move, Jacko.

There are a lot of scandals involving Jacko, but who wants to remember him for the bad stuff? Remember Michael Jackson for the nostalgia, and for the great music. And remember him for having the coolest songs in the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. I may just play the game again, if only to hear Billie Jean in its historical context, the light and happy eighties.

Michael Joseph Jackson. 1958-2009.

*some info from Wikipedia
pic from rnbmusicblog.com


Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Another prequel thingy on how the war began between the werewolves and vampires. It's a sorta revolution flick starring The Chosen One werewolf that's stronger and smarter than all werewolves and vampires combined. Yes, he is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ wants to revolt against the werewolves' slavery under the vampire regime.

Then, Jesus Christ also falls in love with the Trinity-of-The-Matrix-version-of-a-vampire, which gets Trinity killed. Which gets everybody mad and so, everyone blames each other. Trinity's father and Jesus Christ hate each other's guts.

It's a nice watch with all the action-y and sexy scenes. The touch of leather jacket is always fun but the love shit sometimes get tiring. Revolution climaxed by the death of the lover? Typical.



Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

This is the formula for a Michael Bay film:
Explosions + fast cars + excessive "golden hour" shots + dizzying and annoying camera movements + terrific action sequences + great comic relief + occasionally forced three-sixty shots. Times ten.

Anyway, Revenge of the Fallen succeeded in living up to the hype. And this time, they at least tried to satisfy the original eighties fans with lots of references from the original cartoon series and from the original animated movie. (How many times did I just use the word "original"?)

All the characters in this movie can be divided into two teams: Team Coolness and Team Comic Relief.

Team Coolness:
  • Optimus Prime (I just love Peter Cullen's voice. If God had a voice, he would sound like Optimus Prime.)
  • Shia LaBeouf (Of course. Shia LaBeouf is a great actor.)
  • Megan Fox (She is also part of a special team called Team Hotness, of which she is the only member.)
  • Soundwave (Though he doesn't have the same cool voice as in the original animated series, it's still Frank Welker. So there.)
  • Devastator (Any Transformer that huge should be on Team Coolness.)
  • Arcee (And they finally brought in female Autobots.)

Team Comic Relief:
  • John Turturro (Still funny as hell.)
  • Kevin Dunn and Julie White (The parents were already a riot since the first film.)
  • Skids and Mudflap (The Autobot Twins.)
  • Jetfire (He was actually a serious character in the TV series, but remains in this film as the Decepticon who chose to be an Autobot. You can actually choose which side you want to be on.)
  • Ramon Rodriguez (This guy will have a great career ahead of him.)
  • Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson (These guys were in Team Coolness in the first film, but were demoted to Team Comic Relief for this film.)

The team captains for Team Coolness and Team Comic Relief are Optimus Prime and John Turturro, respectively.

Take note of the excellent sound. Not only does it give vibrating pleasure to your butt, it could actually get nominated for an Oscar. Even a blind man would probably enjoy this movie, as it is both visual and auditory candy.

Also, regarding the title: there's nothing special about it. The main villain in this film, or Megatron's boss, is named "The Fallen". Seriously. So this is basically his revenge.

*some info from IMDb
pic from thinkhero.com

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. USA. 2009.

Rating: Eight out of ten.
Megan Fox's hotness: Nine out of ten.
Soundwave's voice: Nine out of ten.
Optimus Prime's voice: Ten stars.

You may also want to check out the review of Transformers. Or you could read the reviews of Transformers: Dark of the Moon here and here. Or you could read the review of the 1986 animated film.


Le Violon Rouge (The Red Violin)

I heart multinational productions.

This movie follows the journey of a Bussotti violin through three centuries and five countries, from its inception in Italy, to the hands of the Austrian monks, to the child prodigy Kaspar Weiss, to the hands of wandering gypsies, to the English genius Frederick Pope, across the ocean to Red China, then back to the Americas in modern-day Canada, to be auctioned to its latest resting place. Whew. Talk about epic.

Anyway, what can I say about this film?

Directing: check.
Screenplay: check.
Cinematography: check.
Production design: check.
Sound design: check.
Musical score: check (Oscar win).
Acting: check.

Jason Flemyng with long hair still looks like a gypsy, like in Snatch. Samuel L. Jackson begins his career playing minor yet important roles. And Sylvia Chang is really cute.

*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
pic from chud.com

Le Violon Rouge. Canada. 1998.

Rating: Nine out of ten.


Men in Black

A great popcorn movie, and just right at ninety minutes or so.

Oscar winner Barry Sonnenfeld directs this comic book adaptation, and it's actually so effective because the film itself also runs like a comic book. The lighting and the effects are perfect for the mood the film is trying to go for, which is The X-Files meets Star Wars.

Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as the no-nonsense Agent K, a perfect match to the comic relief and occassional coolness of Mr. Will Smith. My only problem was Will Smith's wardrobe in the beginning. Orange half-jumpsuits are so...nineties.

Anyway, the sexy Linda Fiorentino is quite entertaining as the only female lead in this movie, but it makes me wonder what happened to her career. Where are you now, Linda Fiorentino?

But the best performances in the movie come from Tony Shalhoub and Vincent D'Onofrio. Tony Shalhoub's Jeebs is delightful, and I suppose a lot of Hollywood actors would die for roles like this, playing against type, and getting a huge kick out of it. And Tony Shalhoub is almost unrecognizable here, what with the buck teeth and the crossed eyes. And Vincent D'Onofrio's performance as Edgar the Bug─classic. This should be viewed by any aspiring method actor, as every move done by D'Onofrio, every twitch of his face, and every faltering step he takes, everything he does can only be done by an alien in someone else's skin. Vincent D'Onofrio is a genius. And it also helps that both Jeebs and Edgar have excellent makeup, since this film, by the way, took home the Oscar for Best Makeup. How cool is that?

Men in Black was done with the early versions of computer-generated special effects, and now, more than ten years after its theatrical release, still remains as one of the most genuinely entertaining science-fiction comedies ever produced. And for that, we thank Steven Spielberg for producing this. We love you, Mr. Spielberg.

*some info from IMDb
pic from aceshowbiz.com

Men in Black. USA. 1997.

Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
Tony Shalhoub: Nine out of ten.
Vincent D'Onofrio: Nine out of ten.


The Spiderwick Chronicles

Two words: For children.

Apparently based on a series of books, also called The Spiderwick Chronicles, this film tries so hard to capture the magic of Harry Potter and the visual style of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Tried, but failed.

One of the problems was its excessive use of CGI. And that's the trade-off right there. More CGI, less realism. Which is why I like animatronics better.

Don't get me wrong, the CGI shots were great, of course. They were, after all, done by Industrial Light and Magic. But when there's more CGI than real people, then they should've just animated the whole thing.

Anyway, Seth Rogen once again lends his voice to one of the CG characters called Hogsqueal, who is a talking pig that eats birds. Nick Nolte is terrific as the evil sorcerer Mulgarath (such a lovely, fantasy-sounding name), although his actual screentime was, what, five minutes? Mary-Louise Parker also appears as the recently divorced mom, though she is not the star of this movie, so we are not allowed to soak in her beautiful face. But the best performance of all comes from the young Freddie Highmore, who successfully pulled off playing twin brothers with different personalities. This boy's acting skills are way beyond his peers'.

So, to end this, let me just say that this was a ho-hum movie, with a ho-hum plot, and that's-nice-but-ho-hum special effects.

*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
pic from londonist.com

The Spiderwick Chronicles. USA. 2008.

Rating: Five out of ten.



I promised myself that I'll never write a review for any movie that I don't fully watch. Meaning, falling asleep on some parts. But Caligula made such a strong impact on my life that I feel the necessity to write about it. Really. Besides, when I woke up to this orgy scene and asked my friends what I missed, they said I didn't miss a thing. Just that the Caesar's sister died but mostly, I missed other orgy scenes. Which are what make up the whole movie anyway.

The movie is a rip-off from the historically insane tyrant (but Wikipedia says one can't be sure of the present-day evidence, but professors are afraid of Wikipedia references, so let's assume that Wikipedia is lying). The movie opens with a frolicking scene of scantily-clad lovers in the forest. Oh, it's an incestual relationship. Because the movie is supposedly about the decadence of the Caesars. Killing, sex, killing, rape, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. Decadence=sex.

Because I am so freaking subtle, I have to say that Caligula is porn.

But not really.

Somehow, a part of me thinks the movie wanted to be a wee bit intellectual. In that campy seventies-thingy they do. I mean, a friend from Fine Arts did think the production design/costumes were nice (but then again, she still said that the movie was the most horrible piece of shit she had seen in her life), and there were orgies trying to be surreal (three-faced weirdoes and dwarf centaurs) with a weird production number to boot. One can also catch a glimpse of Joseph Campbell's outline of Jungian psychology---though the black crow archetype for death is sucky, but who would expect much from porn-but-not-porn? I'm already trying to list down slash invent a few "good" things about it.

Mostly, it's either desensitizing or nauseating. We now use "Caligula" as a synonym for disgusting. I thought I was already this jaded person and all, having almost thrown up from glimpsing this anime porn, Black Bible. Until of course, Caligula. Almost three hours of orgy is... what the fu... why didn't we turn it off? Partly because we were anal wanting to finish the whole movie (oh god, no pun intended please!) and partly because I think we really wanted to see how such an orgy movie would end. Rather, how the Caesar would be killed.

Apparently, killing the Caesar was also "WHAT THE?" The director was probably like, "Okay, we're almost three hours in this shit, now he brutally dies." The end.

Caligula is so sucky, it is so memorable. And if the goal is to abstain from sex and forfeit all horniness for three months or so, this is exactly the movie to waste time with.




More Vietnam war films, and they get heavier and heavier. Yet, no matter how heavy it gets, I'm sure nothing compares to the actual Vietnam experiences of the war veterans.

Platoon is one of the more famous films about the war in Vietnam, and is the only Vietnam film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It actually took home four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director for Oliver Stone, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing).

I, however, have a problem with the Best Editing award, as there were some transitions used that personally did not work for me. I actually counted three, though the ones that bothered me the most were one cross-dissolve (from the scene where they were smoking marijuana to a low-angle shot of the jungle treetops), and one fade to black, with the next fade in happening too abruptly. Anyway, that's just the editor in me nitpicking. But really, bad transitions always bother me. Though maybe it's the overall impact of the whole film that garnered it the Best Picture award. And I agree that the cinematic excellence of the whole film was enough to override those three lousy transitions.

Written and directed by Oliver Stone, based on his actual Vietnam war experiences, the character-driven story shows Stone's screenwriting talent. I just hate Tom Berenger's character Sgt. Barnes so much. Not "hate" as in I didn't like Berenger's portrayal; I mean "hate" as in his portrayal was so effective that I wish he died earlier in the film. It was Berenger's character that killed Willem Dafoe's Sgt. Elias. How can you kill such a nice guy like Sgt. Elias?

Anyway, Charlie Sheen in the lead role isn't half as bad. He was able to pull off an inexperienced cadet, straight from boot camp to the Vietnamese jungles. The kid has some acting chops, though not as great as Johnny Depp's whose character Lerner is the only one who can speak Vietnamese. Depp was actually supposed to play the lead role, but that role was eventually given to Charlie Sheen, since Depp wasn't as famous yet. But Oliver Stone correctly predicted that Johnny Depp would become a Hollywood superstar one day, and look at him now. Hollywood superstar. Just like Stone said.

Also, I noticed that Willem Dafoe's face didn't change that much. Yes he looks older now, but he still looks like Willem Dafoe. I bet if he had a high school photograph, you could tell with one glance that it's still Willem Dafoe. And Forest Whitaker, too. Their faces don't change at all.

Anyway, this film was shot---where else---in the Philippines, like its predecessor Apocalypse Now. And here's some trivia to all the Johnny Depp fans out there: prior to shooting this film, Depp has never been outside the United States. So the Philippines is the first foreign country he has visited, at the tender age of twenty-two. I just hope he didn't have any Claire Danes experiences here.

*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
pic from dlpreviews.blogspot.com

Platoon. USA. 1986.

Rating: Eight out of ten.
Willem Dafoe's classic arm-raising shot (see pic): Ten stars.


The Sopranos. Season Three

Great season opener. The FBI goes on a covert mission to plant a bug in Tony Soprano's basement. Get in, plant the bug, get out. It's that simple. Except for the getting in part. Plus great use of The Police's "I'll Be Watching You", remixed of course.

And other highlights of Season Three:
  • The matriarch Livia Soprano dies. (And she was one of my favorite characters.)
  • Johnny Sacks moves into Jersey.
  • Carmela joins Tony in therapy.
  • Ralphie Cifaretto creates bad blood with Tony by accidentally killing one of the Bada Bing dancers. But he is eventually made captain.
  • Uncle Junior's cancer operation is a success.
  • Meadow leaves the black guy Noah and starts dating Jackie Aprile, Jr.
  • Tony Soprano begins his destructive love affair with Gloria Trillo.
  • Jackie Jr. takes his first step into mob life.

Livia Soprano's death was actually because of actress Nancy Marchand's real death. Creator David Chase actually rewrote a huge chunk of the third season to adjust to this unfortunate event.

Annabella Sciorra makes an appearance as Gloria Trillo, while Michael Imperioli appears as screenwriter for the second time, writing episode 35 of this third season (his first screenwriting credit was for episode 22 of Season Two). Bert Young (who played Uncle Paulie in Rocky) also appears as Old Man Bacala (episode 31). Steve Buscemi makes his directorial debut with the series (directing episode 37), and of course, the excellent actor Joe Pantoliano debuts on the series as the annoying Ralph Cifaretto.

*some info from IMDb and HBO
pic from HBO

The Sopranos (Season Three). USA. 2001.

Rating: Eight out of ten.


When We're Not Writing Reviews...

this is what we do:

Sting the Amateur Gynecologist and
Claire the Repressed Catholic School Girl

Taken at the Kick (Con) Ass Rally, 10 June 2009. Lighting effects achieved by using slow shutter speed. Or using a lousy camera that cannot hold still.


Shallow Grave

Not one of his best films, but this one was definitely his first.

Director Danny Boyle, one of my most favorite directors ever, shows us what he can do behind the camera, and he doesn't disappoint. The shots are well-executed, and the storytelling is as clear as you can get. Of course he got a little help from screenwriter John Hodge, who would go on to write the screenplay for the other Danny Boyle hits Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, and The Beach.

This film was released in 1994, although looking at Kerry Fox's hair and wardrobe, you'd think you were still stuck in the eighties. This breathes life into what Robin Scherbatsky said in an episode of How I Met Your Mother: "The eighties didn't come to Canada 'til '93." It was probably the same in Scotland.

Ewan McGregor also marks his first of many collaborations with Danny Boyle, and he basically just goes on a fun ride throughout the film. It just seems like he's enjoying himself; it doesn't seem like he's acting at all. And for his so-called non-acting, this role actually won him an Empire Award.

There are actually three characters who live in the same flat (McGregor, Kerry Fox, and Christopher Eccleston), and you wouldn't be rooting for any of them, as they are all equally evil. But eventually, you would actually be rooting for Ewan McGregor, not because he turns into a nice guy in the end, but because he turns out to be the least despicable among the three. Nice twist there by John Hodge.

Despite being Danny Boyle's first film, his musical style has already been firmly established: electronica all the way. So I actually love Danny Boyle for his visual style, his clear-cut storytelling, and for his electronica. So watch this, if you are a Danny Boyle fan, because this was what jump-started his film career.

*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
pic from empireonline.com

Shallow Grave. UK. 1994.

Rating: Seven out of ten.
Kerry Fox's hair: Five out of ten.


Movie Icons: David Carradine

I shall not pretend to be a David Carradine fan. Because I never was. Though I'm glad we are both Sagittarians.

All I know is that he starred in the seventies TV show Kung Fu. I've never even seen an episode of Kung Fu. Well, maybe I have, but I just don't remember it.

Anyway, it was the Kill Bill films that introduced me to David Carradine, and from there, I found out that this guy was from a Hollywood acting dynasty. Like the Barrymores. And the Fondas. Their local equivalent would be the Eigenmanns. Or Eigenmenn. That was a joke.

David Carradine was actually one of those who popularized martial arts in the Hollywood movies. Sort of like Bruce Lee, though not as great. And that is why Quentin Tarantino chose him to play Bill, simply because Carradine was a martial arts icon. And that is also the reason he appeared as an old Chinese gangster in Crank: High Voltage, which was his last completed film before his death. But the truth is, Carradine has no Asian blood in him. The only thing Asian about him is his spirit, and his love for martial arts.

So let us mourn David Carradine's death, because it will deprive us moviegoers of his onscreen martial arts prowess. But let us also rejoice, for now David Carradine will get to spar with the master Bruce Lee himself, and all the other ancient Chinese masters before him.

John Arthur a.k.a. David Carradine. 1936-2009.

*some info from Wikipedia
pic from daylife.com


Coming Soon: Sherlock Holmes

So as not to anger the true Holmes fans, it has been made clear from the onset that this film is not based on the canon. Sort of like fan fiction for movies.

Anyway, it's Sherlock Holmes. It's Robert Downey, Jr. It's Jude Law. It's Guy Ritchie. Who cares about Rachel McAdams?

*video from mottey2501 at YouTube

You may also want to check out the other Sherlock Holmes reviews from Sting Lacson and Mary Quite Contrary and Cholo Mercado


Man-Crush Special

Due to the unexpectedly positive response from my Facebook Man-Crush post (several of my über-straight male friends followed suit, all without second thoughts and without batting an eyelash), I now bring you Da Couch Tomato Man-Crush Special. People have been hounding me to write this, and now that I've realized that it's impossible to narrow down my man-crushes to just five, I've decided to go ahead with this blog post.

Twenty years ago, there was no such thing as a man-crush. Well maybe there was, but they just didn't know what to call it. Today, almost a decade into the new millennium, it is possible for a straight guy to have a man-crush without being labeled as homosexual.

Man-crush simply means "If I were that guy, or if I looked like that guy, or if I even slightly resembled that guy, I could get any girl I want." That's all.

Gay is now the new straight. Or straight is the new gay. Whatever. You get the point.

And in no particular order (although Christian Bale ranks number one):

Christian Bale
This guy played Batman and John Connor. You shouldn't ask any more questions. Plus he looked great with the goatee in The Prestige.

Topher Grace
Funny guy. Just like your typical boy-next-door with a sense of humor.

James Franco
One of the Hollywood pretty boys who, in the tradition of Johnny Depp and Heath Ledger, refused to be labeled as such. Franco went on to play a stoner in Pineapple Express and Harvey Milk's lover in Milk.

John Cleese
John Cleese was, and still is, a really funny guy. You can just imagine him over thirty years ago, when he was the alpha male of British comedy.

Sacha Baron Cohen
The new alpha male of British comedy. I wish I had his height. And his chameleon looks. He can pass for Caucasian, Arab, or Semite. And many more, with a little make-up.

Guy Ritchie
The former Mr. Madonna. He's got a very cool directing style. And he's got a scar on his face. Everyone knows chicks dig scars.

Johnny Depp
Do I even have to explain? This is the poster boy of poster boys. Girls will go after him even if he looks and smells like a pirate.

John Lloyd Cruz
Simply because there's no one better in Philippine showbiz right now.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Like Captain Jack Sparrow, girls will still go after him even if he looks and smells like three months of jungle warfare. And he is, sadly, the poster boy of the revolution.

Bear Grylls
Anyone like Bear Grylls is an outdoor girl magnet. You'll be able to snag any girl who's into mountaineering and stuff. Or any girl who gets turned on when a guy can drink camel urine.

Alessandro Del Piero
I wish God would give me everything about Alessandro Del Piero...EXCEPT his voice.

Jude Law
He played Alfie. And he can breakdance. Come on.

Takeshi Kaneshiro
Check out the pic. Any guy with blood dripping down his nose will have girls rushing over to wipe it off.

Daniel Henney
He played the Asian guy in that Wolverine movie. Girls who like Asian guys will definitely bypass Hugh Jackman.

Georges St. Pierre
A great fighter, with the grace of a gentleman. And a French accent. No wonder we have Mandy Moore crushing on him.

Chang Chen
The rule is that you cannot man-crush yourself. That defeats the entire purpose. But you can man-crush on someone who looks like you. And they said I look like Chang Chen. All rightey then.

Wentworth Miller
No, not because of Prison Break, and definitely not because of his acting. It's because he single-handedly made tattoos look cool.

*photos from omgwtfannie.livejournal.com, daylife.com, guardian.co.uk, myspace.com, texarkanagazette.com, thebosh.com, thejoyjuice.wordpress.com, allposters.com, bestweekever.tv, spiegel.de, pokupine.wordpress.com, flickr.com, comingsoon.net, sportsnet.ca, ascot-elite.ch, smh.com.au



And now, we give praise to Jim Henson, patron saint of puppeteers. That is, if Jim Henson were Roman Catholic.

Again, this film was from the golden age of pre-digital special effects. Everything here was old school, except for the computer-animated owl in the opening sequence. I've been told that that was the first attempt at creating photo-realistic digital creatures for full-length films.

Jim Henson's creature workshop must be a great place for a grade school field trip, especially if you grew up knowing Jim Henson's name. Young kids right now will probably never know how much that man contributed to the art of cinema.

The characters in this film will all go down as classic, especially Hoggle. Which is why for me, first-class animatronics is better than first-class CGI. You can really tell the difference. Thanks to the brilliant muppeteers Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Kevin Clash, and Frank Oz (all legends in their field), and to the excellent creature designs of the great Ron Mueck.

Jennifer Connelly is a pretty good actor, by the way. Well, she was only sixteen when this came out. And she was my first Hollywood crush. But her costume here in this movie---it's so eighties. But of course. This was 1986.

And finally, the great David Bowie. The soundtrack played a big role in the film's success. Well, it's Bowie. His portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King is not one of his best acting gigs, but it's pretty entertaining, and it's not half as bad as the critics say. Bowie is Bowie. I believe he's the only one who could've pulled off that hair. But Bowie's crotch is another story. Pretty distracting, if you ask me.

*some info from IMDb
pic from twincities.decider.com

Labyrinth. USA. 1986.

Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
Bowie's hair: Eight out of ten.
Bowie's crotch: Three out of ten.


Crossing Over

Once again, pretty heavy stuff.

Very few films manage to pull off a serious topic such as immigration, and translate it into a cinematic work. Immigration has already been a serious issue in the United States, and placing the setting just after the 9-11 terrorist attacks makes the issue twice as serious. Great job for writer and director Wayne Kramer, who obviously did his research.

This film covers all points of entries for immigrants. We have the stereotype Mexicans, the Asians (the Orientals, mind; the Malay race is again unrepresented), the Arabs, and also the non-American Caucasians. Each of them have their own dramas. And each of their dramas is as heartbreaking as they can get.

Harrison Ford, although the biggest name in this movie, does not carry the acting load alone. He has a great supporting cast of...non-Caucasian Americans. Well, not all of them are Americans, anyway. Ford, Ray Liotta, and Ashley Judd (who is still pretty, despite the obvious signs of aging) are Americans who play Americans; Jim Sturgess is a Brit who plays a Brit; Summer Bishil is an American who plays an Arab; Cliff Curtis is a New Zealander who plays an Arab; and Alice Braga is a Brazilian who plays a Mexican. Ah, the magic of movies. It's like Reggie Lee, who is a Filipino who plays a Chinese pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. It's looks that matter in Hollywood, not country of origin.

Anyway, like I said, pretty heavy stuff. Makes you want to rethink any dreams you might have had of moving to greener pastures. After watching this, I suggest you follow it up with a light comedy, or a rom-com. Just to get that heavy feeling out of the way.

*some info from IMDb
pic from silive.com

Crossing Over. USA. 2009.

Rating: Eight out of ten.


Now That I Have You

Philippine Cinema is not known for many things. But it is known for John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.

In fact, try checking out the IMDb entry for this film, and you'll see that the one who wrote the review was American. And he loved this film. Because it didn't focus on poverty. So I guess he probably hated Slumdog Millionaire.

I, on the other hand, liked the film. Not loved. Just liked. Because of the love team.

Philippine cinema is good at two things: horror flicks, and romance films. I don't like the horror films that much (yet), but the romance films are something else. Technically, they are romantic comedies, but the romance just overpowers the comedy. And the romantic angle just isn't that strong in the Hollywood rom-coms. Only in the Philippines.

I just wish the major studios would stop focusing only on the bankable love teams. They put too much premium on John Lloyd and Bea that they overlook the fact that there might be other actors who could pull off a great rom-com. Well, now they have John Lloyd and Sarah Geronimo, but that's still John Lloyd. They should give other actors a shot. It might work. If it doesn't, then I've proven myself wrong, and they can go do all the films they want until John Lloyd's hair turns gray.

*some info from IMDb
pic from photobucket.com

Now That I Have You. Philippines. 2004.

Rating: Seven out of ten.


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