Da Couch Tomato

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

Little Ashes

Two words: Gayness Galore.

Decent film overall, I might say. It kind of puts a historical context over three of Spain's most gifted artists: a filmmaker, a painter, and a poet. Let's try and analyze them one by one.

The Filmmaker
Luis Buñuel

Played by Matthew McNulty, he is the straightest of the three. But the story doesn't really focus on him that much. He is like a supporting character, second fiddle only to the romantic couple that is Garcia Lorca and Dalí. But they did show his film Un Chien Andalou, which should be familiar to every film major for that eye-slicing shot. And yes, the title was in French, not Spanish. That's because back then, Paris was the place to be for any artist.

The Painter
Salvador Dalí

Played by Edward Cullen Robert Pattinson, he is the most eccentric of the three. He is the gray area between Garcia Lorca and Buñuel─not gay, not straight, but maybe... bi? I really don't know. Dalí is so weird that it doesn't even matter. He is and will most probably always will be my favorite artist. Ever.

The Poet
Federico García Lorca

Played by Javier Beltrán, he is not just a poet, but a writer of such high caliber─a poet, a playwright, a revolutionary. Also, he is the gayest of the three. Yes, he has a girl. But he is gay. The way he looks at Salvador Dalí? Gay. And don't get me started on the man-on-man kissing.

See, I told you not to get me started.

Overall, good movie. But if you're an ultra-straight conservative, just close your eyes at the gay parts.

*some info from IMDb
pics from VLC

Little Ashes.UK/Spain. 2008.

Rating: Six out of ten.


Preserving the Momentum: Portal 2 Review

The nasty thing about travel is that you must pass through the undesirable places in between two points in space if you are to reach your destination. This problem of voyage has since been addressed in ludological form by Portal, one of the best video games of all time and predecessor of Portal 2, wherein the protagonist, Chell, awakes in an Aperture Science Enrichment facility governed by the mechanical voice of the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System or GLaDOS, whose sole purpose is to test for the betterment of the future today. In the first video game, we learn that the product being tested is the portal gun, which allows two portals to appear in two surfaces, and passing through one portal leads one to come out of the other. Chell, as well as the product, is being tested by going through various testing chambers. It soon becomes clear that not all is right when, after proceeding through a crack in the wall, Chell realizes there are no humans in observatory decks and offices; all this just as GLaDOS, who has been polite but menacingly sinister during the whole time, reveals her personality and becomes outright homicidal with a tinge of passive-aggressive sarcasm.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 19: Klaus

Move over Damon.

"I believe the term you're searching for is OMG."

Oh. My. God. I'm at a loss for words after watching it, and Elijah put words into my mouth. This episode is all about Klaus, but still managed to settle pieces of the puzzle for the rest of the season. I can't write about this episode without spoilers so consider that a warning.

Klaus is Elijah's bastard half-brother who's not only a vampire but also a werewolf. The Sun and the Moon Curse is fake, but there is a curse on Klaus alone. Because the witches spelled his werewolf side dormant while his real father and family were murdered by Elijah's father, he seeks to break that curse and reawaken his werewolf side to spawn his own hybrid species.  

Underworld much? Not that I'm complaining. I see now why Matt Davis also had so much elbow room with the character. But Joseph Morgan playing Klaus is engaging, both the actor and the character. But it's too premature to say that he's worth the hype and the wait. Besides, the truckload of information (or lack thereof) on vampires, werewolves, or servants of nature, a.k.a. witches, made public in this episode makes room for more seasons to come.

A little like Damon yet also a little like Stefan.

On a side note: Elijah makes flashbacks really more pleasing to watch. Maybe it's the way he talks for one, in a noble manner that probably doesn't exist in this day and age. I wish they'd give him a regular spot. But that's a long shot, as two vampire brothers plus a classy one might just be too big for Mystic Falls. It would be such a loss however if Elijah dies. He's like the best of both the Salvatore brothers.

2011 from, what, the 1400s: two guys fighting over a girl, how cliche.

Speaking of the Salvatore brothers, I kinda like it that they're fighting again. It kinda gives off the feeling that the show is going back to its roots—sibling rivalry, just like Elijah and Klaus. And we have now come full circle. The parallelism between Katherine and Elena, and Elijah and Klaus and Stefan and Damon is a little to evident to ignore. But it is yet to be determined if both stories are to meet the same fate. Of course, the writers would not allow (I hope!) any predictability to the show, which makes it more exciting. Tyler and Jules are in attendance in the next episode, so that should shake things up a bit more.

"Now that's more like it."

This is already too long for a micro but let me add a few more things of note: Alaric is alive, thank you! Jenna is in the know, too, just like the Mama Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff. I bet next episode will see everybody back in action, and expect (or not to expect) Damon to shatter that.


Five Films for Devout Catholics During the Holy Week (Old School Edition)

Before the days of cable TV (yes, I'm old), local channels used to either totally go off the air from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday. (Honestly, who still uses the word "maundy" these days? Only the old school Catholic Church, that's who.) And if they didn't go off the air, they did air a total Holy Week line-up of religious films that in children's eyes were way too creepy to inspire them to do good.

Here are five that I remember.

Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St. Matthew) (1964)

Jesus had the best hairline.

It's black-and-white, as were some TV sets at the time (yes, I'm old). And also, it's regarded as the best cinematic portrayal of Jesus' life. Directed by the famous Pier Paolo Pasolini, the film was actually intended to portray Jesus as the greatest revolutionary of all. Not surprising, considering that Pasolini was an atheist, homosexual, and Marxist. 

The Ten Commandments (1956)

"This film sucked this much."

Ah, fifties Hollywood epics. Great sets + great costumes + thousands of extras + zero CGI = BORING. Good job, Cecil B. DeMille. I remember watching this, noticing that Moses had no beard, falling asleep, waking up with the movie still playing, noticing that Moses had some scruffy facial hair, falling asleep again, waking up with the movie still playing, noticing that Moses already had a beard, falling asleep again, waking up with the movie still playing, giving a sigh of exasperation, and just heading out to play with my friends.

Jesus of Nazareth (1971) 

Kind of looks like a bearded lesbian.

I joined the boy scouts back in grade school, and I remember after seeing that the actor who played Jesus was named Robert Powell, I asked my mother, "The founder of the Boy Scouts played Jesus in a film?" Of course, my mother just looked at me like I was crazy. I was already a smart ass in third grade.

Ben-Hur (1959)

"Um... didn't you guys bring your own food or something?"

Wait, Charlton Heston again? He must really love boring epics. But again, this was before CGI, so you'd be seeing one hell of a chariot race scene. The most annoying thing about this movie, though, was why they never showed Jesus' face. He wasn't that ugly, come on.

Nakausap Ko ang Birhen (1988) 

I couldn't find a pic of Lotlot as Jesus, so here's the next best thing:
a newspaper clipping of the movie poster.

One of the most disturbing religious films I've seen, and it had to be Filipino. Picture this: Lotlot de Leon, dressed as Jesus, carrying a cross. You know, like penitentia. And then a heckler (I think it was Paquito Diaz, I don't remember) asks her, "Gusto mo talaga mag-penitensiya ha?" Then he forces a crown of thorns on her head. Now that was really disturbing. It scarred my childhood. That's why, despite the noticeable deficiency in information that the internet provides on this subject, I can still quote that heckler's line verbatim. There should be a law against letting women play Jesus. I mean, that's why Jesus had a beard.

Ah, thank God for the 21st century. Now we have cable TV, the internet, and Boracay to help us forget about Jesus. If Jesus had Twitter, he'd probably tell all of you to just chill. Oh wait. Jesus is already on Twitter

*pics from pasolini.net, chasness.wordpress.com, Daily Express, MSN Movies, and Movie Marathon


I Didn't Get My Katniss. Boo.

If you know Katniss, then I don't have to explain. If you don't, move on to another post. The Hunger Games movie has announced casting decisions in the past few weeks and I didn't get my Katniss. Boohoo.

Blondie here got the part. "Easiest casting decision they ever made". Really?

With all due respect to Jennifer Lawrence, I know you were nominated for Best Actress for Winter's Bone in this year's Academy Awards, so I should bite my tongue. But I had a specific Katniss in mind, one who I'm sure (yes, sure as hell until now) could rock the part of a fatherless 16-year-old girl thrown in an arena to battle others for life, bread, and freedom.

Here she is, my perfect Katiniss.

Seeing Lyndsy Fonseca in the early episodes of the new TV series Nikita and reading all three books in a span of nine days at the same time, I was confident that if they would make a movie out of the best-selling book franchise dubbed as "the next Twilight phenomenon", she'd be the first actress to be considered. And I believed she'd get the part. She was spot on: 1) She kicks ass; 2) Look at her, she's gorgeous and absolutely fits the Katniss description from the book; and 3) Did I already say she kicks ass?

Anyway, since I don't have the power to overrule the casting decision, I really hope the producers didn't cast Jen just for the hype and exposure she got early this year. Plus, finding out that Lyndsy has her full support, my hopes are at a standstill (at least not downhill) as to how the movie will turn out.

She was really considered for the part; you have to give me props for that.
See, I wasn't the only one rooting for her.
And here's the light at the end of my tunnel... for now.

To be honest, I just really want the movie to make a huge impact as the books did to my reading experience. And no matter how many objections they get about casting, what's done is done. As they say, we all had a specific Katniss in mind. But they're the ones making the movie. May I just say that I believe that the people who cast the Harry Potter series was right about taking the natural path first and foremost—meaning though hair color and contacts can be used to get the look, it's always better to have the natural. But who am I to say such, right? Pffft.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is a little bit surprising...
but I can imagine he can do a decent job at it.
Liam Hemsworth's take on Gale better be more manly...
definitely more manly-er than being Miley's boyfriend. Puh-lease.

All that said, I shall delay judgment until I see the movie. But knowing that the book author Suzanne Collins is on board and very much hands-on in the project is a positive note. Hence, I shall shut my mouth (but will still secretly rant) and see how it this franchise gets ruined takes a leap to the big screen.

PS. Elizabeth Banks is Effie! Now, that's some nice news. Some tributes (if you don't know what they are, why are you still on this page) have been cast, so check out The Hunger Games Movie on Facebook.

*photos from flash-screen.com, ees.printex.com, acrl.org. moviewallpaper.net. Tweet screencaps from downwiththecapitol.net


Rio. 3D

A kid's flick that is neither from Pixar nor DreamWorks.

Yeah, okay, it's adorable. But only because I want to have my honeymoon in Rio de Janeiro.

In time for this, of course.


Repertory Philippines' Shakespeare in Hollywood

Two worlds, both alike in prestige and reputation
On stage by Repertory Philippines', we see them together
From being skeptic to really enjoying their relations
All hell breaks loose as the theater is filled with laughter.

If those verses doesn't sound remotely familiar—albeit nowhere near (not even on the same planet) the level as the original wordplay Shakespeare could whip out—then you probably flunked literature or have no idea of the tragedy that defined all tragedies—Romeo and Juliet. But this production by Repertory Philippines is not about the two star-crossed lovers, nor is it a tragedy.

Shakespeare In Hollywood is a comedy about the poet's A Midsummer Nights Dream's characters Oberon, King of the Fairies, and his court jester Puck, who both somehow landed in a movie set as actors playing themselves in Hollywood. That in itself is chaos waiting to happen. Add to that a story of love, a bimbo, censorship, and a magical flower—well, it borders on ridicule, but you just have to see and experience the play to laugh with me here.

Hats off, first and foremost, to Cris Villonco: I appreciate you more now than when I saw you first as a little girl singing on TV. What got my attention to watch the play with anticipation was the moment Villonco went in for her first scene. I didn't even notice at first that it was her. Having seen her her in The Joy Luck Club and now in this play is an amazing transformation, a testament to her versatility as a stage actress. The accent, the clothes, the makeup, and yes, the well-endowed front-top-and-center, may have helped her portray Hollywood bimbo Lydia to her fullest potential. She, in character, was even the obvious choice for a few last words from Rep, because she—or her character, by her portrayal—leaves a mark the audience will surely remember.

First girl Only girl in the scene: "I'm all grown up now, thank you."
or, Can you guess who's playing a gay guy here?

That said, the whole cast did not disappoint either. They all did a good job in playing their roles. Allow me to mention Max Reinhart (Robie Zialcita) as Austrian director, censorship man Will Hays (Miguel Faustmann), Daryl (Topper Fabregas) the assistant, Puck (Red Conception) as the playful jester, and of course, Olivia (Caisa Borromeo) and Oberon (Hans Eckstein), King of the Fairies. Repertory Philippines is where seasoned actors are at home. Putting up a play is hard work; sets, sponsors, tickers, and rehearsals are a "labor" of love. So, props to the whole production team for making stage production appear effortless, and highly artistically done at that (read: light changes and sound effects/echoes).

Producer-director-censorhip is pretty much still the a thing of today.

Not that these are bad but why are your promotional shots in black and white?
Or, Why the hell don't you have a shot of Olivia and Oberon together? Or just Oberon and Puck?

Now, may I just say: how people spoke during Shakespeare's time is so romantic. It drains one of all cynical-ness and fills it with passion and awe. Eckstein as Oberon conversing in Shakespeare-speak with a "mere mortal" is win. I love it. But I guess, fashion sense during Shakespeare's time is still a downer. (But the production team did a great job replicating them!)

Repertory Philippines' Shakespeare in Hollywood gets and eight-point-two, for hilarious comedy with little speck of magic and love. 

*photos courtesy of Repertory Philippines


Easy A

Honestly, even if I watched the whole Easy A movie, I still don't know what the fuck "easy A" means, or where does it come into this movie (Nice ass? Easy ass was all I could think of). I wish I could tap Emma Stone's easy-ass while stoned!

Come on, she dares you to.

Good for Emma to bag her first lead role. I guess we should thank Superbad and Zombieland for givin' us the opportunity to get a sneak preview of her [Emma and Jonah Hill in Superbad or we could thank Jules' "family jules (jewels)" for that]. I honestly do hope that this would be the first of many lead roles to showcase those family jewels.

Um, may we see those alleged "family jewels"?

I wasn't really laughin' out loud (LOL-ing) the whole time the movie was bein' played. Though I kinda' snickered when it came to some parts of the flick. Good old-fashioned American humor was at play, it means. Therefore this garners a 5.5. That's because I laughed, and Emma's hot!

Does this mean that Fantastic 4 automatically gets a 10?

images from: shefinds.com, latimes.com, thecinemasource.com, filmfodder.com


What Goes On in Baron's Brain

To avoid any potential libel suit, we've withheld the surname. Baron who? I was talking about Baron... Munchausen. Yes, that's right. Baron Carpet Munchausen. High-five!

So this is what Baron sees, and this is what goes on in his brain:

Oy, exposed shoulder. Tsup tsup.


The Vampire Diaries. Season 2, Episode 18: The Last Dance

You can't kill me. I'm the resident black "witch bitch".

"I've got moves you've never seen."

Actually, I saw those coming. A big event means someone major is going to die—usually. And since it's been expected from every episode with a big-big event, the writers had to do something to make it less predictable. Solution: Bonnie and Damon team up to fake Bonnie's death for Klaus (in Alaric's body) to believe that his main threat is eliminated before he actually steps foot in Mystic falls. It's kinda obvious really. And though Klaus defies myths (not needing an invitation since he's taken over a human body but can still compel people), simple deception could have just bought the gang some time and their secret weapon "BonnieX100" back since she went into hiding until the real Klaus comes.

But I'd have to say that Alaric as Klaus has given Matt Davis some room to play and show off his good acting chops. But I don't know about the dialogue he's been given: "Safari Sam", "witch bitch", "haggard history teacher"?! I'm going to puke if another alliteration or homonym is used by this obviously era-confused vampire. I hope to God Damon doesn't get the same cheap lines. "I will always choose you" is undeniably a slap-in-the-face example of a best line (if delivered smack on like Damon always does)—simple, direct, and full of meaning.

Also, Sheriff Forbes and "deputy sheriff" a.k.a. Matt is on to something that can turn everything upside down. Now I know why Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline are the best-est of friends: They're all so thick. First, Elena and Bonnie took so long to figure out that Alaric is not who he is. Grah. And now, Caroline is too in love with Matt she couldn't pinpoint what's wrong with him not kissing her enough and her mom acting all weird. Come on girls, grab some balls!

And leave it to Elena complicate it all the more: She just pulled the dagger out of Elijah. Do. Not. Blink.


Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Girls who look like that most likely have a dragon tattoo somewhere.

This film was based on a book of the same title. But you don't really need to know that.

This film also has a Hollywood version, which will come out this year. But you also don't really need to know that.

What you do need to know is that this is an excellent film, and is possibly the best Swedish film I've seen. Then again, I haven't seen that many Swedish films. Maybe just some Ace of Base videos and an ABBA documentary.

This film is a mystery thriller. A whodunit, to be more precise. We're looking at a missing girl, who may or may not have been murdered. I don't really want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet.

Anyway, one thing I appreciated after seeing this was the language of cinema. There is actually a correct way to tell stories visually. That is the reason a good film will always be a good film, in whatever language. The styles may differ, the content may vary, but the language remains the same.

This film has succeeded in telling a really great suspense story. I honestly expected to be yawning ten minutes into the film. Instead, I found myself sweating at the palms. Partly because the summer heat is starting to swelter at this time of year. And partly because it was a damn great suspense story. And also partly because Noomi Rapace was great as Lisbeth Salander.

Even her non-acting is acting.

Of course, credit should probably go to the brilliant director, Niels Arden Oplev.

Now this got me worried about the remake. Would it be as good as the original? Or rather, would it be as effective as the original? Whatever. Who's the director? Oh, it's David Fincher. Okay, he'll do. The Social Network was okay. But more importantly: Rooney Mara, who plays Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood version.

Punks. Not. Death.

By the way, I don't like her as Lisbeth Salander. She's... eeewww. So here's a prettier photo of her which you can take with you in your dreams.

Mmm... Rooney Mara.

Wait a minute. According to W Magazine:

Fincher’s film departs dramatically from the book: Mikael Blomkvist is more gentlemanly, Salander is more aggressive—and the ending has been completely altered.

Damn you, Fincher!

But wait. What are you all worried about? This is the Swedish version. Go watch it. The original is always the best.

*some info from IMDb
pics from Alt Film Guide Electrifries, and W Magazine

Män som hatar kvinnor. Sweden. 2009.

Rating: Nine out of ten.

You may also want to read the review for The Girl Who Played With Fire.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Firstly, admit to the fact that you know a little more less about the great acting gamut that is Hugo Weaving.

CLICK to enlarge.
One of the rarest times he takes his shades
off in The Matrix and he does this. No, no,
he isn't happy because he just got the
Oracle's eyes, no.

...Smith was just reminiscing with how big his mouth can go, see?

And then, admit to two more outstanding actors in Guy Pearce and Señor Terence Stamp. Terence is usually the white-haired, reptilian-eyed antagonist of movies. Lesson learned from Madame Terence: no tweaking or alteration of voice quality needed─the deep voice actually adds up to the lady-ness of either the genuine drag, or the genuine lady. I should know, I adored one or two. bLOL.

And how about Guy Pearce? He's just the guy from Memento, L.A. Confidential, The Count of Monte Cristo, a much-criticized Time Machine, and a much-unknown The Proposition. To see him in an earlier Priscilla role is convincing to the starring roles he landed in succeeding movies. I must say, Felicia was his best─to his and to other's well-being. Seriously.

Align if you see Marky Mark Wahlberg

These Aussies are a bunch. Forget that tasty Wolverine actor guy.

I N T E R M I S S I O N: Movie music.
(Do) You kids actually know what this song means?

Second stop: Female film editor in Sue Blainey. Shucks. No hetero guy was cool enough to take on the role of editor. We should develop more female editors. I taught one myself. And now, she's way in over her head─acting like a proud male with no beef to back her lanky body up. I told her so. LOL. Now I'm thinking to train two more belonging to the third and fourth genders, just to let her know of her now-threatened space. Moohahaha.

OMFG so G 'n' R(!)
FAB FACT: Who says dreamcatchers and Aboriginal art
belong only to the natives? And didgeridoos? Come on
now! Fab peeps can own everything. You must've
learned that by now.

Lastly, is the race-y part which I'm proud of. You see Hollywood is really funny when it comes to casting a "general-ly" Asian woman. They just make her speak English like a Chinese or Vietnamese would. Then they make her curse in hellish Filipino-Tagalog.♥

Click to Constantine movie link
Her Alibi link
Don't be, she packs a punch. Click away.

Tips to fab (verb, adjective):
  1. Instead of purple, say "lavender"
  2. The barren desert is a perfect place to fab

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Australia. 1994.


Premium Blogspot Templates
Copyright © 2012 Da Couch Tomato