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World Icons: Paul the Octopus

Only because Paul the Octopus hates Arjen Robben.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be known for two things: vuvuzelas, and Paul the Octopus.

Paul, an Octopus from Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, correctly predicted every single match of Germany, plus the final match between Spain and the Netherlands. He quickly achieved superstar status after that, sparking a research in other animal oracles the world over.

I can't really say that Paul will be missed, as octopi have at most only a three-year life span. But Spanish fans will grieve his loss, and German and Dutch fans will be finally glad that Paul has finally settled in Davy Jones's locker.

Paul, a.k.a. The Oracle of Oberhausen, ~January 2008 - 26 October 2010

*some info from Wikipedia
pic from Time NewsFeed


The Social Network

By mumblingmaya
Fri 5 Nov 2010, ~11:00

The movie starts with flashbacks that interject with the literal narrative of two federal cases filed against Mark Zuckerberg by the Winklevoss twins and by his former(?) best friend Eduardo Saverin.

This can be a little confusing since in one of the flashbacks, we see Mark Zuckerberg being tried by Harvard's disciplanary committee for hacking into their system and creating FaceMash, so people might think there are three cases there.

I also found that full-circle moment in the end about Mark Zuckerberg's being an asshole cheesy.

Justin Timberlake was suprisingly good, meaning I didn't expect him to do well in this film. But he succeeded in making me despise Sean Jay Parker. Shout outs to Brenda Song for transitioning from The Disney Channel, even though her role was insignificant, if not derogatory.

I saw this with a computer programmer friend and he was having a geekgasm the whole time. I'll admit that the SMO person in me geekgasmed as well. But mostly, I loved the Winklevoss twins' 1990's references that really say, "Generation Y, I'm talking to you," and Andrew Garfield's cuteness, and Aaron Sorkin's writing. And yes, the soundtrack is killer.

Sting Lacson's review after the jump


Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

"Don't worry, Michael. There'll be more roles for sissies like you."
One look at the title, and you'll know it's about music. I mean, there's the word "playlist". Come on.

Basically, a ho-hum movie that's not even about music. Yeah, there are a lot of bands, and lots of gigs. But it's not really about music. It's about Nick and Norah.

Nick a.k.a. Michael Cera: Michael Cera cannot act his way out of a paper bag. His demeanor may be considered adorable in Superbad or Juno, but that's because he's young, and he plays a young character. But once he grows old, and he still acts in his trademark soft-spoken sissy acting style, don't expect him in too many movies after that.

Norah a.k.a. Kat Dennings: I've never noticed you before. You come off as one of those cool, rocker chicks. And you probably know how to play the guitar. And you're cute. Plus a little bit slutty. Which I like. Must be the mouth. Hehe.

The Rest of the Cast: Virtual unknowns. Except for Jay Baruchel as Norah's ex. Nick's ex is really not my type, except maybe naked. And the lead vocalist for Nick's gay band is strangely familiar.

*pic from Listal

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. USA. 2008.

Rating: Six out of ten.


You to Me are Everything

Look, Dingdong, this cat can act better than us.

This is the reason why movies like One More Chance stand out.

Dialogue sucked. The story sucked a bit too. Although nothing that a good director couldn't have made better.

Anyway, here's my take on the stars.

Dingdong Dantes: Your acting doesn't really stand out. Maybe with a few more movies. And I hope they pit you against the really great actors. So you'd get better. Because you kind of suck.

Marian Rivera: Okay, you're really pretty, and I don't know any guy who wouldn't have sex with you. Your facial expressions are really animated, which is good. But the way you deliver your lines─classic Filipino delivery. Which means it sucks.

Manilyn Reynes: You've grown fat. And I've never liked you since the eighties. Which means you suck.

Jacklyn Jose: You've grown fat as well. But it doens't matter. You are the only actress worth noting in this movie. I love your Ilocano accent. Why didn't Marian Rivera speak in an Ilocano accent as well, considering both of you are from Benguet? The only answer is: Marian Rivera cannot do a decent Ilocano accent to save her life. Because she sucks.

And on a final note: Can the Filipino film producers stop using American song titles as movie titles? Please? Thank you.

*pic from The Delano Observer

You to Me are Everything. Philippines. 2010.

Rating: Four out of ten.


November's Harry Potter Not in 3D

The three Potter actors furious about the 2D release

Okay, this may be a bit late, but yes, you heard it right. The seventh Harry Potter film will only be in 2D and IMAX, according to this article.

For those of you too lazy to click on hyperlinks, here's what it basically says: The 3D conversion will not be done in time for the November release of The Deathly Hallows Part 1. They'd rather release on time to please the waiting fans than push back the release date.

On the comments thread of that same article, a certain Mr. Scott Brooks has captured my feelings exactly:

Good. Take your 3D conversions and shove it.
Couldn't have said it better.

But the question now is: When will they release the third Road Runner and Coyote 3D short? It was supposed to be released with this film. And I was honestly looking forward to Road Runner vs Coyote more than Harry Potter vs Lord Voldemort. 

*info from Coming Soon
pic from Fanpop


Chungking Express

I really thought I was going to fall asleep on Chungking Express. It was a matter of boredom and spontaneous eeny-meeny-miny-moe-which-arsty-farsty-movie-am-I-pretending-to-watch. But lo and behold, I found myself exclaiming Chungking Express is the bestest movie. EVER.

Okay, not really. I settled with Moulin Rouge about that (just so I can have one consistent answer to give social networking sites on what my favorite movie is). But maybe the whats, wheres, whens, and hows of watching this film lead to an apt, and therefore, perfect watching experience of Chungking Express.

So here it is: watch this before midnight, with the rain tapping outside your window, and your blanket is all cozily wrapped around you. Watching this film is like reading short stories that paint life in the city with such simplicity and poignancy.

Chungking Express is "divided" into two stories on two cops, both involving break-ups. The first one stars Takeshi Kaneshiro and Brigitte Lin. Kaneshiro is hung-up on his ex while Lin is solving a drug deal gone wrong. Their lives collide just for one night. And nothing pretty much happened. But with that, everything happened.

Because I know profound and all that.

Anyhow, Kaneshiro's obsession with pineapple cans is so charming. Heck, his moping around is as charming as well, making you wonder why someone could break up with a guy like him. I wanted to hug him and be the Brigitte Lin to his getting-over-the-ex. And I'm not saying this just because, Kaneshiro the actor is the definition of hot.

The second story has Tony Leung and Faye Wong. Leung's stewardess girlfriend broke up with him through a letter he never would read (she also returned Leung's apartment key). Wong was the one who received the letter, working at the store where Leung frequents. Wong, who's been secretly watching and falling for Leung, reads the letter, concludes that Leung's depressed and decides to secretly clean up his apartment using the keys with the letter.

Faye Wong as the eccentric girl played eccentricity just enough─not to the point that it was annoying and too typically artsy-fartsy. Leung played cool cop just right too. Cool, but not too much, to the point he'd be starring in an action flick instead of a simple story on dealing with break-ups.

And oh, the imagery and camera shots on both stories were fantastic too. There's emphasis on time in the city being too fast and sometimes, people just find refuge in brief moments.

The film talks about heartaches, hopes, urban alienation, and all that jazz without being too... loud. The metaphors weren't obscure, but they weren't rubbing it in my face too. Personally, I liked the first story over the second one because I find it more quiet, and more strong too. The second story, relative to the first, is an apparent love story. The first story, not so.

And if I'm beginning to sound too confusing. It's because I don't want to post too much spoilers. See? That goes to show how much I love this film.

And a 10/10 rating would probably be better proof.


Cinema Conspiracy Theories: The Case of Titanic 3D

When George Lucas announced that he would be converting the entire Star Wars saga into 3D, no one was really surprised. After all, 3D has officially been declared "the future of cinema" (I cannot cite any source for this right now except the Jackass 3D trailer). And since the 3D cash cow must be milked bone-dry before it becomes the industry standard, we can expect a lot of 3D conversions coming up.

But what was really surprising was the fact that another movie had already announced its conversion plans before Lucas did: Titanic.

Titanic, as we all know, was that Oscar-winning flick about a sinking ship, shot by then King of the World, James Cameron. Titanic broke box office records during its time, and was the highest-grossing film in Hollywood history before it was toppled by last year's Avatar.

Avatar, for those who've been living under a rock, was 2009's greatest phenomenon, as it was the film that brought 3D technology to the forefront of pop culture. And the man behind Avatar was none other than the former King of the World, James Cameron.

I'm the King of the World, but my glasses suck!

What's strange in all this is that Cameron, one of the trailblazers in modern 3D technology, has always been very vocal about his disagreement with converted 3D technology. For him (and a lot of 3D experts, myself shamelessly included), 3D films must be shot with 3D cameras. There just is no substitute. A traditional 2D film converted to 3D will not be really 3D. The most it can be called is 2.8D.

Well, if he's against 3D conversion, how do we explain Titanic's 3D conversion plans, complete with a 2012 release date?

This is what I think:

I think Cameron is really against any form of converted 3D. And the only way to explain Titanic 3D's production green light is that James Cameron may have directed Titanic, but he does not own the rights to it. The rights to Titanic are owned by Paramount Pictures (who we shall call "the Studio" for brevity).

The Studio's head honcho, with dollar signs in his eyes, and smelling the immense profits to be realized by converting classic 2D films into 3D, calls James Cameron into his office.

STUDIO: Hey Jim (no one calls Cameron "Jim" unless they're family, they're close, or they rank higher than him in the Hollywood pyramid), what do you think about converting old 2D movies into 3D?

JC (stands for James Cameron, not Jesus Christ, the other King of the World): Conversion? I told you that would suck. There is just no substitute for shooting in 3D.

STUDIO: Well, you made your own camera, right? I mean, nobody knows 3D like you do.

JC: Well, I know that, but...

STUDIO: So that means you know about conversion.

JC: Yes, and like I said, converted 3D's got nothing on actual Real D 3D. You can't duplicate binocular vision with just one lens. You need two. Like the human eyes.

STUDIO: Cut out that Discovery Channel shit, will you? Is it possible to create the technology to make decent conversions?

JC: Yes, it is. But to make a decent conversion, it would still take at least six months. And I'd have to supervise the whole conversion process, just to get it right.

STUDIO: Great. We've decided to convert Titanic into 3D.

JC: What? No!

STUDIO: What do you mean, no? We own the film, and we can do whatever we want with it.

JC: Not my baby! I refuse to make my baby a guinea pig for all the conversion experiments you've got planned!

STUDIO: Oh yeah? (snaps fingers to call two bodyguards, who grab JC and shove him face down on the table with his arms twisted behind him, pretty much how Tony Soprano would do it)

JC: Ouch...you're hurting me!

STUDIO: Listen, Cameron. You'll be hurting in more places if you don't do as I say. You started all this with your Avatar 3D shit. Well now 3D is bigger than you. It's bigger than all of us. And you're gonna start work on that 3D conversion technology, and make sure you get it perfect.

JC: What happens if I refuse?

STUDIO: I'll bang your ex-wife and kill her in front of you.

JC: Yeah, like I care. We're divorced. Do what you want with her.

STUDIO: Well, in that case...we'll just let M. Night Shyamalan oversee the conversion process. He's almost done with the 3D conversion for The Last Airbender. And he's still pretty pissed off about you taking the name "Avatar".

JC: Nooooo!

Well, you can imagine the rest. Again, let me just say that this is a pure work of fiction, as are most conspiracy theories, and any similarities between actual persons, living or deceased, are purely coincidental.

*some info taken from Star Wars, Mashable, and Screen Rant
pic from Electronic House


The Town

This flick really threw me off. Not in a negative way. I mean, I really wasn't readin' or hearin' any reviews about this one, so I really had a clean slate when it came to comin' up with worthless opinions about the film overall. After all, opinions are like assholes. They all stink!

It's always a good thing to hang around afterwards and watch the credits rolling. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't know that it was Ben "formerly Bennifer" Affleck who directed the flick. In all actuality, he is indeed a better playwright than actor. Man if Shakespeare sucked at acting, then can we all say that Ben Affleck is William Shakespeare version 2.0? I don't really know where this is leading to, but the bottom line is that Mr. Bennifer (yes, I guess he's still "Bennifer" since he's married to Jennifer Garner now) here is better off directing. I for one am a would-be sucker for all of his upcoming flicks.

The hidden gem here ladies and gentlemen, is none other than Mr. Hurt Locker himself, Jeremy Renner. Well Ben, Jeremy, and the others did a good job in switching the lever to the Irish-Bostonian/Charlestownian accent setting. Whoever their accent coach was (my guess is that it's the same accent coach who taught Forest Whitaker in speaking like Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland), he/she did a wonderful job in converting their tongues into fully-fledged semi-Irishmen.

The innovative thing that I saw was the part where the SWAT team threw a bomb at 'em and then everything went silent after the explosion. Well almost everything. Except for the incessant ringin' sound. You know, that high-pitched sound you hear after your eardrums take in a sudden blastful? That was I think the first time that somebody got the actual feel of bein' blasted, and then simulated that feel and translated it into film for us viewers to experience. It's the li'l things like these that make my viewing superb. I live for these moments!

When everything's said and done, I'd give this movie a 9 out of 10 due to the fact that I was fully disoriented after that explosion I was talkin' about.

*image from thescriptlab.com



Another one of 'em Guy Ritchie creations. If you're familiar with the movie feel of Snatch, then this one's pretty similar. Guy's films are like carnival rides. Once you begin the movie, the ride starts and then ends after the end credits. I know that description sucked, but you get my drift.

As I've said earlier, RocknRolla's like Snatch in a lot of ways. It overwhelms you with "Guy Ritchie Camera Shots" (you know, the fast panning and swift transitions, you know the fuckin' drill). It's also set in London, with the usual London gangsters. Lenny Cole's similar to Snatch's Brick Top.

Turkish's role is similar to that of One-Two's. Plus there's also a missing thing involved, which is the Russian's painting, while in Snatch, it's Cousin' Avi's diamond. The Russians in RocknRolla can also be compared to the Jews of Snatch, due to race I guess.

And Guy's penchant for shredding out facts while doin' a certain scene clearly shows here in RocknRolla (when Lenny explains how the local fish species was completely wiped out by its American counterparts in the River Thames). Back in Snatch, it's Brick Top explaining how starved pigs could chew through human bone and flesh like butter.

Another thing that could be compared if you ask me is Jason Statham and Mark Strong's narrating ala Fight Club's Edward Norton.

Now for the actors who stood out...

Gerard Butler a.k.a. "One-Two"- It's in this flick wherein I fully got to appreciate Gerard Butler's acting, even if he's in his comfort zone, which is doin' roles in his native accent. His dancing really blew me away, that's all I can say.

Idris Elba a.k.a. "Mumbles"- If it wasn't for The Losers, I wouldn't recognize this fucker.
Favorite line: "If I could be half the human being Bob is at the cost of being a poof, I'd have to think about it. Not for very long, but I'd have to pause."

Tom Wilkinson a.k.a. "Lenny Cole"- Really has the greedy and evil look in him, just like in Batman Begins. Can you say he's got that "Gangster/Mafia" look?
Favorite line: "There's no school like old school, and I'm the fuckin' headmaster!"

Mark Strong a.k.a. "Archy"- Really looks familiar, but he wasn't really under my radar 'till Kick-Ass came out. A very solid performer, who can hold his own in every character he portrays. I really digged (yeah it's dug I know, but digged sounds more appropriate nowadays I think) how he interrupted Roman and Mickey in their studio usin' the studio microphone. Hilarious shit!

Thandie Newton a.k.a. "Stella [The Accountant]"- Reminded me a lot of Zoe Saldana. I also found her sexy when she started dancin' freakishly in that party when they were discussin' the second job (or rather, "the heist").

Toby Kebbell a.k.a. "Johnny Quid"- Acted like a true rock 'n rolla, no pun intended. That's because here, he plays a rock star who was always presumed dead. As the sayin' goes, "Rock stars are more famous when they're dead. Johnny Quid's just cashin' in."

Tom Hardy a.k.a. "Handsome Bob"- If it wasn't for my bro's trained eye, I wouldn't have noticed that this was the same dude who played Eames in my third favorite movie, which is none other than Inception (the first being The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus while the second one is The Matrix).

Lastly, RocknRolla's soundtrack sounded cool too. Full of old school rock songs! I give RocknRolla a 9 out of 10, due in large part to my bias for Guy Ritchie flicks. All I can say is that this flick fuckin' rocks!

*image from firstshowing.net


Nikita. Episode 5: The Guardian

Devon Sawa is this episode's special guest. Who looks older, as well, like Russell Wong in the previous episode. And we see Percy's truly evil side. Which is why he still remains my favorite character in this series.

*pic from Channel Cut


Nikita. Episode 4: Rough Trade

Russell Wong is here. Yes, the same Russell Wong from Romeo Must Die. He looks older, though. But of course, no martial arts stuff from him here. All the martial arts here comes from Maggie Q.

*pic from iheartthecw.com


Millennium Actress

Okay. I really don't know how to start this review. It's much easier to review something that you hated because you just rant, rant away. When I get fan-girly over something, that's easy too. I just squee and gush. It's not often that I actually encounter something that can elicit a silent appreciation from my usual fan-girlish ways. It's not often that I encounter something that makes me say, "Man, I wish I wrote this."

The film revolves around a documentary on famous retired actress Chiyoko. It weaves archetypal characters, present time, flashbacks, and scenes from her movies to tell her story─her lifetime chase after a man that left her with a key when they first met, a man she loved so much but barely knew.

I have never watched a story within a story within a story within a story that's so neat but still wonderfully complex until I finally got to watch Millennium Actress. It philosophizes filmmaking, love, and hope (but isn't hope just a spawn of love... or vice versa?) without being too incoherent (as other stories usually are when trying to highlight form and content at the same time).

However, I believed the ending line of the movie ruined its perfection. It felt as if the movie was spoon-feeding and summarizing the whole point of the story for the audience. One, duh, I get it already. Don't rub it in. And two, telling the audience what the main character felt sort of limits a more fruitful debate on what love and hope is all about in her life.

Still... 9/10


The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 5: Kill or Be Killed

I think Stefan is the real evil vampire brother here. Yes, he's struggling with evil and trying to be good and all that drill, but who made him the boss of everyone? When did he become the one who decides whether a vampire or a werewolf should be killed or not? At least Damon admits he's the devil. Stefan acts as if he's all high and mighty. I don't hate Stefan, but I understand why Damon does. And Elena should reprimand him. If she stopped Bonnie from killing Damon because it's not "their way," why shouldn't she get angry at Stefan for deciding to kill a werewolf just because this werewolf is a threat (among other beings he had to decide who had to die)? I mean, Damon has killed nonchalantly every time something sets him off. He killed Stefan's vampire best friend. But nooooo! Of course, he wouldn't kill Damon. He's his brother. Pffft. I don't mind him not killing Damon but he really shouldn't get all high and mighty, and get the I-feel-for-people-huhu-I-am-so-human-trapped-inside-this-vampire-body label.

That rant over, Caroline kicked ass. Yay! And Caroline-Mother interaction has always been priceless.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 4: Memory Lane

I'm not fond of the washed-out color they used with the flashbacks. They didn't need it then, and they absolutely didn't need it now. It would have been pretty fun, actually, if they used one type of color and captivated the audience with having to follow flashbacks and present time scenes going back and forth.

And yes, it's fun seeing Nina Dobrev playing bratty, flirty, and pouty Katherine, but... God! Is every main character in love?! Seriously. I don't know about the book this was based on but I know that the writers probably wanted to paint the villains as sympathetic and probably make them not look like your stereotypical antagonists. But if all your main characters are pathetically in love with each other, what would be the point? They should have called it "Love Screws All Our Lives."

Without that context, however, the last scene wherein they played Sara Bareilles' song would have been perfect. And the opening scenes on who's who and history repeating itself just never gets old.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Here we go again. After three days. Though it's a little bit shorter than I expected it to be, it is really something. I wonder if the would-be big screen adaptation will do justice to the books' beloved characters? Hmmm.

Mockingjay, the third and final book of The Hunger Games trilogy, picks up a month after the Quarter Quell. Katniss has finally embraced her role as the mockingjay, which is just what the rebels need to unify the districts and push forward the rebellion against the corrupt and sinister President Snow in the Capitol of Panem. WIll she succeed? Will the rebels triumph? And okay, (okay!), who will she finally choose to give her heart to?

I just couldn't help not to pick up the last book and finally get some answers, and couldn't put it down either until I'm done. The book actually has a formula kinda similar to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But if children fighting and killing each other in a real-world arena of unspeakable dangers isn't captivating enough; imagine a gruesome war where your soldiers are only fourteen years old. I commend the writer for creatively weaving fear, violence, war, corruption, innocence, young love, friendship, family, cleverness and wit (whew!) into an epic plot—one where a lot can be learned from. Right now, it's taking all of me not write about what happened in the book here. I don't want to spoil anything, so my advice: Read it. (But read the first two books first! Hehe.)

And though I had a preference as to who she should end up with in the end, I think everything worked well. I believe the story justified its web of themes effectively. Every promise has been fulfilled. Every death served its purpose. And there's nothing to do but move forward.

Now, I need a new book to read.

Mockingjay gets seven-point-five out of ten, for the suspense it has up until the last few pages and the twists I semi-expected.

*photo from 10thirty.wordpress.com


Banksy Does The Simpsons

Not sure if this is a genuine Banksy.

Okay, this post is slightly delayed, but only because I was waiting for 20th Century Fox to leave YouTube alone.

Anyway, artiste extraordinaire Banksy takes his artwork a notch higher, as he was invited by Fox to direct the intro for the 10.10.10 episode of The Simpsons. Might seem like a sell-out move. But it isn't. Watch the video.

Now ladies and gentlemen, Banksy has just demonstrated how to sell out without really selling out. If you know what I mean.

*video from Banksyfilm on YouTube



This is how to force a review:

Invictus: from the Latin invictus, meaning "indomitable".
Also the title of a poem by William Ernest Henley.

The most famous lines of the poem are "I am the master of my fate:/I am the captain of my soul."

This poem was Nelson Mandela's favorite poem, and is what added to Mandela's indomitable spirit while in prison. This means that Mandela's steadfastness was due to his realization that he is the master of his own fate, and the captain of his own soul. Hence he shall not die, but will live on to become president of South Africa.

What this movie is really trying to say, though, is this: "I (Nelson Mandela) am the master of my fate, and I am the captain of the South African rugby team."

Wait, I thought Matt Damon was the captain of the Springboks? He even learned the Afrikaaner accent for an Oscar nomination.

Well of course Matt Damon is the captain of the Springboks. What this movie really wants to show is that Nelson Mandela (played superbly by Morgan Freeman) is higher up than Matt Damon. Mandela is the captain of the captain. So in essence, Nelson Mandela was actually the captain of the Springboks, winners of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

And Clint Eastwood was able to seamlessly merge politics, nationalism, and sports, into one great story. Well, Clint Eastwood didn't write it. But he directed it. And you have to admit it, Clint Eastwood is a great director.

*some info from IMDb and Wikipedia
pic from NY Daily News

Invictus. USA. 2009.

Rating: Seven out of ten.


Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Don't be fooled by how the Philippines version of Tall Story looks like. It is not a cheesy, corny, boring textbook with the simple and-now-we-have-your-moral-lesson tale. I don't know how the UK version looks like, but this one, I don't know how or why (is it the materials? is it the art?), it's just something that I felt shouldn't have looked like this.

That aside, Tall Story is as funny and as heartwarming as others say it is. It manages to concoct up a tale of two different cultures without having to resort to exoticizing the Philippines. Sure, the novel presents a land of superstition but the author managed to tell it in a way that does not demean nor glorify. It's just the way it is. Magic can be reality. Magic is reality.

Tall Story is a typical young adult (or do they call it tweens now?) novel where one of the protagonists has a past he or she has to resolve, while the other protagonist has to prove him or herself to the world because of some handicap or what society perceives as a handicap. All the while this is happening, they will form a bond stronger than ever. Everyone's happy, everyone's crying and smiling. And your heart will warm up.

So, in this case, there's nothing wrong with being typical, right?



Perfect Blue

Image source: animebottle.com

I wouldn't go into the Perfect Blue-is-just-another-sex-and-gore-anime-so-any-feminist-concept-it-carries-is-not-worth-noting-down. Because I'm biased. I liked it. And sometimes you have to exploit to show exploitation. And well, another excuse I can think of is it is consistent with the style of the whole film. Show psychological issues by being all confusing by itself. So showing exploitation by exploiting in itself is not really surprising. But that's just another excuse. Basically, I just liked it.

Perfect Blue cleanly executes the downwards spiral into psychological confusion. How the film accelerates into breath-taking scenes is dependent on the development of the protagonists, or rather, on the speed of their psychological breakdowns.

The film is about Mima who left her pop idol girl group at the direction of her agency. Because she has a potential to be a wonderful actress, they say, and that pop idols don't really go anywhere in Japan. This change in her career stirs the wrath of an obsessed fan, who writes too much details of her daily life on a website. The website is written in the style as if Mima's the one who's really writing it, except the Mima on the website, of course, is not afraid to say that she doesn't really want to be an actress.

With the pressures of doing drastic work as an exploited actress─gang-rape scenes and nude modeling for instance─Mima starts reading the anti-Mima actress website religiously and starts questioning her identity.

Everyone tells Mima what to do and who she should be. Either she's a slutty actress or an innocent pop idol. Note that both statuses are exploited anyway. Perfect Blue does a good job of showing how women put on pedestals are torn between both the exploited virgin/whore dichotomy. It also does a good job of how it affects them. Most of the time, Mima is not sure what she wants anymore. Also, everyone acts as if reality only presents two places for her, which at the end of it all, is a place a human being shouldn't have to be in.



The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 3: Bad Moon Rising

Image source: fanpop.com

Let me spoil it for you. The werewolf is a Siberian Husky. I think. I really don't know animal breeds and stuff, but you get the point. It's a dog. The Vampire Diaries has always been for simplicity. A little veiny-veiny there, fangy-fangy here, darker eyes, high-speed movements, and you get vampires. Werewolves equal dogs. No fuss principle. This is both The Vampire Diaries' strength and lameness.

Also, though this episode has lots of yummy Damon-Elena moments. I think I'm also thinking about shipping Caroline-Stefan. Stefan becomes adorable when Caroline is around. And Caroline, well, I've always been biased about her. Among all the characters, she's the one who really has to prove herself, that she's actually someone other than the token blonde. And I just wanted to hug her so bad after watching this episode.

I still find Tyler ugly.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 2: Brave New World

Image source: http://www.watchvampireseries.com/

Caroline's transformation into a vampire is what I've been hoping for and is just what anyone could expect from sweet, insecure Caroline—totally not as annoying as Vicky from Season 1 played it.

Aside from the too obvious but not as funny jokes from the Stefan-Damon interaction, there's also the vampire versus werewolves arm-wrestling thing. This episode has loads of foreshadowing and lots of winks from the writers.

One thing I noticed though. The show is too... white? I'm not yet sure about this, but the ones being killed are not-white or not-elite. Hmmm.


Sting in Star

Sting Lacson appears in the Philippine Star today, with the article "10 Life-Changing Films" on page Q-2. Coolness. Thanks Chonx. Now I will plug her blog, Pistolera, a.k.a. gimmesomeofthat.blogspot.com.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Three days have passed, and here we go again. I think I'd refer to it as "...the deep breath before the plunge;" an explosive's wick catching fire (pun intended) before everything explodes. It's basically preparing us for something greater. I hope.

In this second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, we keep up with Katniss, our heroine and victor of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games. Since it's sort of the third twenty-fifth year (or anniversary), Panem is having a Quarter Quell─sort of another Hunger Games for the year, just to scare the people that even the strongest will not stand a chance against the Capitol. And to properly illustrate this point, the Quarter Quell's participants will be two past victors from each district, one female and one male. Yes. Being the only female victor in District 12, Katniss is going back to the arena to fight for her life again. Or is she?

Three days to read a one young adult book is not that bad, right? Catching Fire sort of carries the same tone as the first book. It's still an easy read, but with a few more lines for the young adult romance (or plain naivete or confusion, you decide). I notice I read faster when it comes to reading the witty or action-packed parts of the book. And it's nasty. If you think the arena challenges in The Hunger Games are cruel, well, the ones in this book sort of surpassed it, if not at least leveled with it.

I honestly want to start reading the third book already, but it might take a few more days. I still do have a day job. Hehe.

Catching Fire gets an almost-seven out of ten, for sort of mirroring the first book but setting the stage for the last installment.

*pic from www.e-reading.org.ua


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I admit. I'm a picky reader. There is really no genre I prefer, but it has to be an easy read. And depending on the story, I can finish one book in a few days. (I read The Twilight Saga in two weeks. I know. It's not really a proud moment or a high point in my life.) Or I can not even finish the first chapter at all.

I read The Hunger Games in less than three days.

The book is about a post-apocalyptic North America, or Panem as they call it, with its center and ruling district, the Capitol. There was a revolution in Panem once and the Capitol squashed every person, or a whole district, tied to the uprising. So to remind people of that dark past, the twelve remaining districts yearly sacrifice a young girl and a young boy each to fight to the death—The Hunger Games. And the narrator, Katniss Everdeen, is one of them. The winner get instant fame and food for their famished district.

If I haven't said it enough, it's a fairly easy read. It has an exciting and flowing story; I read bulk chapters in a breeze. With simple yet encompassing words describing every bloody and woeful scene, the narrator's confusing feelings, and even her admirable wit and cleverness, it succeeds in letting the reader walk a few steps in Katniss' shoes. Though thinking about some of the book's love angle (Yes, there are bits and pieces of young love) now seems "Duh..." but she's, what, sixteen?! I think we can let those pass. It's kinda refreshing to read about a sixteen-year-old girl who's really forced to grow up during difficult times, and really have no time left for "other" stuff.

It's really a no-spoiler to say Katniss survives (You have to read it if she wins or not, and find out the "how" part.) in The Hunger Games, because there's a second and third book. I'm off to read the next one.

The Hunger Games gets seven out of ten, for not being saturated with young love, having a girl heroin, and all the action. Hehe.

*photo from aleapopculture.blogspot.com


Dexter: Early Cuts

This is of course a pun.

"Cuts" can refer to cinematic cuts, in which case this would mean, "Dexter: Early Versions". That's because these webisodes can be considered the prequels to the Dexter mythology.

"Cuts" can also refer to wounds, in which case this would mean, "Dexter: Early Kills". Again, that's because these webisodes can be considered the prequels to the Dexter mythology. I think I just said that.

Don't expect any fluid animation, though. This looks more like a moving storyboard than anything else. Okay, maybe a moving graphic novel. Just to be more literary.

Anyway, since these are webisodes, then it would be nice to watch them on the web, right?

Alex Timmons, October 2003

Drawn by Kyle Baker, this follows an evil Gulf War veteran sniper who does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.

Gene Marshall, June 1993

This one is about a pyromaniac who loves burning down buildings. But since he burns them down with people inside it, he has moved up from pyromania to arson. This story comes first chronologically, and here we are introduced to Dexter's preferred method of disposal: burial at sea. Drawn by Andres Vera Martinez.

Cindy Landon, March 2004

Drawn by Ty Templeton, this one centers around a slutty bitch known as the Black Widow. Not Black Mamba, as that refers to Kobe Bryant.

*some info from Wikipedia
videos from Showtime on YouTube

Dexter: Early Cuts. USA. 2009.

Rating: Eight out of ten.



If this reminds you of the X-Men, or Heroes, then you are not alone.

Same basic plot: people with super powers, secret government agency (also called "Division", like in Nikita), and people trying to kill each other.

In this movie, the super-powered people are divided into the following:
  • Movers: Those who can move objects with their minds. Also used to refer to people who transport your furniture when moving into a new house.
  • Pushers: Those who can push thoughts into other people's heads. This includes Djimon Hounsou, who has abandoned his trademark screaming, since it would be out of character, as Pushers talk through the mind; and Camilla Belle, who has seemingly pushed out all the hotness in her since 10, 000 B.C., as she looks totally disheveled here. Also used to refer to people who sell drugs for a living.
  • Watchers: Those who can see the future. This includes Dakota Fanning, who foresaw this movie as a stepping stone to playing a vampire in New Moon
  • Bleeders: Those who can give out high-pitched screams and make your eardrums bleed. But really, "bleeders"? I would've gone for "screamers". And they're really ugly when they scream. Hideous.
  • Sniffs: Those who can track other people. You know, "sniff" them out.
  • Shifters: Those who can change an object's appearance to others. This includes Cliff Curtis, who has succeeded in shifting his appearance into Fire Lord Ozai. I was half-expecting him to suddenly throw out fireballs, but then I stopped and reminded myself that this isn't The Last Airbender.
  • Wipers: Those who can wipe your memory. Also used to refer to those sticks that move across your car windshield to wipe away bird poop.
  • Shadows: Those who can keep Sniffs from finding someone. They're like a human cloaking device. Also used to refer to dark areas blocked from light.
  • Stitchers: Those who can heal. You know, like doctors. Because they "stitch you up". Come on.

Now what makes this movie different from the others? Well, as far as I know, it's not adapted from any previous source or medium. It is an original screenplay. Not an original story. Just screenplay.

*some info from IMDb
pic from pajiba.com

Push. USA/Canada/UK. 2009.

Original rating: Five and a half out of ten.
Putting a leash on Djimon Hounsou's shouting: Plus point five.
Final rating: Six out of ten.


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