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Four Reasons I Didn't Like Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages was basically Grand Theft Auto + Glee. The Vice City franchise, that is. Overall, it was entertaining. It'll make you forget, even for just two hours, about any problems you might have. Partly because the music is so loud you can't hear yourself think. And that's probably intentional on the part of the filmmakers. They want the music so loud so that you couldn't hear yourself think about how stupid you are for watching this.

"Should've watched Kimi Dora 2! Or Boy Pick-Up!"

1. The Love Story Was Meh

"All right, when I say 'action', just look at her teeth!"

What's the secret to a great love story? If you answered sex, sorry, that's not the correct answer, but I like the way you think. Anyway, the secret to a great love story is chemistry. The two characters supposedly in love should exhibit such chemistry, such fire, and such passion between them that no one would doubt they were really in love. But in this movie, the chemistry between Drew (Diego Boneta) and Sherrie (Julianne Hough) was... drumroll... zero. My dog and my cat have more chemistry, and they hate each other.

Zero chemistry even in wacky shots.

2. The Anachronisms

First of all, good job to me for using the word "anachronism" for the first time ever in writing. I've always wanted to use that word, but when you do use that word, you'd have to follow up with a discussion, because people will go "Huh?"

"Yeah... wha'ever, man."

An anachronism is basically anything that is chronologically out of place. I'll give you an example. At the start of the film, it is established that the events take place in 1987. Okay, so what're they doing singing "More Than Words", which came out in 1990? I would also include "Paradise City", which was released as a single in 1988, although the album it comes from, Appetite for Destruction, came out in '87. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" too was released in '88, but since it's sung in the latter part of the film, it could be argued that a year has passed already since the start of the film, thus making it '88 in the film's chronology.

"Wait, I still didn't get that anachronism thing... "

3. The Gay Angle

"It's gay time!"

While I've got nothing against gays on film, in my opinion, the gay angle was totally unnecessary. It's just one of those Hollywood trends where playing a gay character will look good on one's resumé. That said, Russell Brand can be convincingly gay without even trying. Alec Baldwin, not so much. And the kiss, man, the kiss. It made me shudder.

Catherine Zeta Jones wants less kissing and more ball-squeezing.

4. Tom Cruise's Aging Body

Don't get me wrong─I loved Tom Cruise's performance. I just didn't like seeing his body magnified like that on the big screen. You could tell that Cruise already had old-man skin. Yeah, you know that when you touch his skin, it's probably soft. But it's not baby-soft. It's grampa-soft. You know what I mean?

"Come on! Reach out and touch it!"

I did love some things about the movie, though. I loved the mash-ups. I loved Catherine Zeta Jones and Mary J. Blige. I loved Paul Giamatti, and his clever decision not to sing too much. And I also loved the fact that everyone sang using their own voices. Including Stacee Jaxx.


If you want a more detailed review, you can check out this one from my friend at Inquirer Libre. Or you can watch the stage musical, which they are saying is a whole lot better than the film version. But don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

Rock of Ages. USA. 2012.

Rating: Five out of ten.

Additional information from Wikipedia


Suits. Season 2, Episode 1: "She Knows"


After a year of absence, Suits is back on the air, this time with more complications than the bright legal minds of Pearson, Specter, and Ross can handle (sounds like a good name for a firm, right?).

No, this is not the dinner that makes Mike partner.

The cliffhanger from last season's finale has finally been resolved. Jessica Pearson already knows that Mike Ross is full of shit. Glad they got that out of the way, instead of spending the entire second season worrying when the hell Jessica is going to find out. Oh, wait. There are still some people who don't know. Like Rachel Zane. And Louis Litt. So the producers can actually spend the entire second season letting us worry about when the hell will Louis Litt find out and descend on Mr. Ross like a carnivorous bird of prey.

More Louis Litt next episode, please.
We missed him.

Great move in introducing a new villain in the series by the name of Daniel Hardman. As in the other-half-of-Pearson-Hardman Hardman. This focuses the attention away from Louis Litt as the bad guy, and might even give Louis a chance to prove that he's a nice guy at heart (who only happens to work in the most rotten profession in the world).

Never trust a smiling lawyer.

Also, thank you, writers. One of this show's strengths lies in the dialogue. You can't help but admire the witty banter among the characters, especially between Mike and Harvey. Thank you also for your pop culture references. This week, it's Goodfellas by Mike Ross, and Highlander by Harvey Specter.

"Please don't start singing that Queen song."


Suits. Season 1


I've never been interested in courtroom dramas, or any other shows involving lawyers. Boston Legal, Ally McBeal─never watched them. Except for this show.

Now I don't know exactly what made me watch Suits. But I think I have an idea.

1. Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is a pot-smoking genius.
This is a role that will resonate with pot smokers everywhere. I think every pothead deep down inside wants to prove to the world that "Hey, I'm smarter than you, and I smoke weed everyday." But then you find out the reason Mike Ross can actually get away with pretending to be a lawyer is because he has eidetic memory, which I really wouldn't mind having.

2. Great characters.
We don't even have to discuss the great chemistry between Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross. Beyond those two are other great characters, such as Donna (Sarah Rafferty) the ever-efficient secretary, and Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), the ever-annoying douchebag.

3. The pop culture references.
The writers of the show are undoubtedly 80s kids, like me. Only 80s kids will laugh at references that other 80s kids make.

So here are the individual microreviews of every episode for season 1. Clicking on the episode title links back to the original post.

1. "Pilot"

Thanks to a friend, who recommended it from a friend.

Anybody who ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer, or anybody who seriously wants to become a lawyer, or anybody who's taking up law, or anyone who's already a lawyer─this show is for you.

So what's it about? Lawyers, of course. And all the dirty underhanded tactics that go with being one. The title is actually a play on the word "suit", which can mean both a lawsuit and an Armani.

"My suit is better than yours."

This is of course about Rookies and Pros, about Masters and Apprentices. And also about chicks. Yup, the legal world is full of chicks.

All the chicks from Episode 1 alone.
And yes, if it came to it, I would tap that black African-American ass.

So if you want to be a lawyer, better learn to play chess like one. And by chess, I mean real, live chess. Like reading people, and pressing where it hurts.

This also includes tips on dealing
with douchebag lawyers like him.

I loved The Godfather and Batman references. (Strangely, no one wants to be Christian Bale. Probably because these guys are American.)

One thing I learned here: it is possible to smoke pot and still retain your brilliance. But sooner or later, you'd have to stop, of course. But it still is possible. Kind of reminds me of someone.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, on to the second episode.


L'Arnacoeur (Heartbreaker)


I've been a fan of French cinema since film school. But it's only recently that I seem to have developed a taste for French rom-coms. Thanks, French Film Festival!

This is the nth movie I've seen that made a reference to Dirty Dancing, so I cannot let my ignorance go on any longer. I had to watch Dirty Dancing. But more on that next time.

We shall also be discussing "The Lift" in more detail.

Although this film is in French and takes place in Monaco, it is not a purely French production. Focus Features, an American company, has a hand in it. That is why there are English-language references, such as Dirty Dancing, George Michael, and an English soundtrack. Also, The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is also in it.

"I still only speak basic French."

The film features a great performance by Romain Duris, who sort of looks like a French Russell Brand. And incidentally, Monsieur Duris is now my favorite French actor.

Le badasse.

The female lead Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) might turn some people off because of the huge gap between her front teeth. You might be wondering why a big French superstar like her doesn't spend money on braces to bridge that gap as wide as the Amazon river. I believe the answer is character. Her gap tooth gives her character. She has probably grown accustomed to that gap that it has become a part of her. To bridge that gap is to cease becoming Vanessa Paradis. She and her gap are one. You get what I'm saying. When the French say "beautiful", they mean "flawed".

You can take a ruler and measure that gap.

You'll know the "romantic" part of romantic comedy works when, despite having a not-so-pretty female lead (not so pretty only because of the gap tooth), you get that giddy feeling inside. This goes for both the Alex-Juliette love story, or the Mélanie-Marc married couple antics. This means the storytelling was effective, and the narrative tugged at your heartstrings, regardless of whether you had a crush on the girl in the first place. This means that, like the male character, you fell in love. Although it wouldn't hurt to still want to shag that nympho girl Sophie (Helena Noguerra).

Yes, she is the hottest woman in this movie.

And finally, Dirty Dancing. There must be something about this film if it's being referenced by the French. My girlfriend has been hounding me to watch it for quite a while now. And she didn't like it when I finally decided to watch it not because of her, but because I saw it in a French film.

If you still haven't seen this, what the hell are you waiting for?

L'Arnacoeur (Heartbreaker). France/Monaco. 2010.

Rating: Seven out of ten.


L'Art d'Aimer (The Art of Love)


French com-roms (comédies romantiques) have two basic differences from their American counterparts.

First, they're in French. That means they have hotter stars. American stars are also hot, don't get me wrong. But of course, we are so used to American beauty that we forget there is a more exotic land called mainland Europe.

Here's Julie Depardieu, daughter of Gerard.

Daughter of Gerard. For real.

Here's Vanessa, played by Élodie Navarre.

OMG, are those her nipples?

For the girls, here's William, played by the ridiculously good-looking Gaspard Ulliel.

Ah, screw it.

And here's Achille's hot female neighbor, played by Frédérique Bel.

"Mon dieu! I am hot!"

And here's Achille, played by François Cluzet, who looks like a French Dustin Hoffman.

"But─I am taller zan zees Dusteen 'Offman!"

Second difference: When the French say "romance", they mean "sex".

You can think of this movie as a romantic comedy with a lot of sex. Not explicit sex, though. They just like talking about it a lot.

The movie actually has several seemingly-unrelated subplots, which turn out to be connected one way or another. Wait, that sounds like the plot for Love Actually, right? But since this film delves more into sex than love, you can say that this film is Sex Actually.

Even the poster looks similar.

By the way, the director, Emmanuel Mouret, played Vannesa's sleazebag co-worker who almost had sex with her. Lucky bastard, or sleazy douchebag? You decide.

L'Art d'Aimer. France. 2011.

Le Rating: Six and a half out of ten.


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted


I admit, I used to hate Madagascar. First, because it's not Pixar. Second, the voice actors are meh (except maybe for Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen). And third, the makers keep making sequels, and are obviously just in it for the money.

"Vat's wrong vit being in it for ze money?"

And then, after watching Madagascar 3, I finally got it. I finally understood why these types of films make a lot of money, which in turn will make the producers keep churning out sequels. But to explain it, I have to take you back to the early days of cinema.

"Is this gonna take long?"

More than a century ago, there was a device known as a "nickelodeon" (which is where the children's network gets its name from). This is what it looked like:

Mostly, they showed porn.

You put in a nickel, turned a crank, and the machine showed a series of images in rapid succession, giving the illusion of movement. Kind of like what bored kids do with their thick schoolbooks.

Shows just how much they love learning.

This was the precursor of movies. And people didn't flock to these machines just so they could view a person cooking, or a person riding a horse. They had that in everyday life. What they wanted to see were fairies, giant sea monsters, or aliens from space. They wanted the impossible. And not only that, they wanted the visually spectacular.

"Uh, like this?"

And that's what Madagascar 3 is─a visual spectacle. It's got bright explosions, stunning colors, and the best action sequences I've seen in an animated film since Kung Fu Panda.

It's like a Mission: Impossible action sequence.

If you've got kids, go watch Madagscar 3. They will love you for it. And if you're a kid at heart, go watch it in 3D. You won't feel like it's a waste of money. And also, if you watch any other movie, the penguins will be there to break your kneecaps.

"And where do you think you're going?"

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. USA. 2012

Rating: Six and a half out of ten.


Young Adult

I heard some award buzz for Charlize Theron in this film, for playing Mavis Gary—a young-adult-series ghost-writer, who's recently divorced and is probably an alcoholic—very well. And it's no surprise; she was convincing playing a pathetic girl.

She still looks hot, though.

Mavis decides to go back to her hometown to snatch his former boyfriend from his wife and newborn and live happily ever after. Only, the results aren't what she hoped for, and it's not really a surprise, because she's totally disillusioned.

"This is color splash is called fashion, people!" 

Promising premise? Maybe. But there is really nothing else to it. It could have been a late coming-of-age thing. Theron was so convincing, you'll just really feel very sorry for her and that's that. Treatment is kind of a bore, and Mavis didn't really grow much. But the movie has its tagline in the bag: "Some people grow old but never grow up", or something like that.

Even her dog walked all over her. 

I couldn't believe this was written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman—the same team behind Juno, which I think had a really great story and overall treatment. Young Adult, for me doesn't even come close. I understand it's a different material, of course, but then again...

Like a cool Mini Cooper, only a really broken one. (What?)

Young Adult gets a five out of 10, for failing capitalize on Charlize Theron's awesome acting skills and leaving the film bland in more ways than one.

*screencaps by VLC


Prometheus. 3D


If you grew up in the 80s, then you're most likely a fan of the Alien film franchise. And why wouldn't you be, when the Xenomorph is probably the most badass film alien of that decade.

Compared to this guy.

The layman will tend to think that Prometheus is a prequel to Alien (the first film in the Alien franchise), but director Ridley Scott vehemently denies this. While the film takes place in the same universe as Alien, Scott describes it as something more than a prequel, something that is an original film but just happened to have some similarities with Alien.

Like the ship, for instance.


Literary Icons: Ray Bradbury

Is he winking?

The name Ray Bradbury is a giant in American literature, particularly in the science fiction genre. Bradbury himself resisted that label, preferring to be associated with fantasy instead.

I admit that I am familiar with his name, but not quite familiar with his works. That's because the English department in my university doesn't seem to hold the science fiction genre in high regard. If they did, Frank Herbert's Dune would be part of the curriculum, as well as Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

As with all celebrities who die in the Internet age, interest in their works will definitely spike. So use this chance to read a Ray Bradbury story. Doesn't matter whether it's a novel or a short story, as long as it's Ray Bradbury. Right now, I'm reading "I Sing the Body Electric", because the title sounds so weird. As it turns out, the title was taken from a Walt Whitman poem. Weird indeed.

Ray Douglas Bradbury. 22 August 1920─5 June 2012.


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