Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lost

Time check: 4:00am

I don't think I'll ever get over my sister, niece, and brother in law leaving.

 Even now, as I look around the room, I can smell traces of them in the air. It is gut wrenching. I'm thankful they left at such an ungodly hour. In a way, everyone is still groggy from sleep and can't really process this much heartache. Still, the parting was painful. It was shorter than usual, but the downpour and onslaught of tears was overwhelming. It is difficult to breathe with the pain weighing my heart down.

 Mom is showing strength, but she can't rest so she's playing with Mochi. I know she feels the loss. Everyone does. I do.

 Dad is awake and looking for conversation. He misses the noise. Kuya Jap woke to an empty house. He is lonely.

 I can't sleep now. I can't go on as usual, not with traces of them still littered around the house. Toiletries left behind, candies untouched, paperbags strewn all over chairs. I can't rest. So I'll clean.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Made With Honor

As a younger sister, it's difficult to give advice to your older siblings. When you have an ate or kuya, you almost always expect them to just know more, in general, than you do. They've been through more, seen through worst, have lived longer. Their wisdom and knowledge is guaranteed. You expect them to have all of the answers.

So when my older sister asked me to be her maid of honor,I had one thought in my mind: How do I deliver a beautiful and honest speech? The end result was a speech far from the original draft I had wrote. It took months of revising and editing. Still, I thought that the speech I came up with perfectly captured the relationship I had with my siblings.


For everyone who is curious, this was the mandatory Maid Of Honor speech I delivered during my sister's wedding.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BBQ at The Hamptons: A Bridal Shower Part 1

All photos by Shutterhound.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pray For My Soul

Let the bridges I burn light the path of my life.

Remove in me any chance of retreat. Deny my soul the temptation to go back.

May the bridges I burn light the way.

Give me the strength to resist the allure of safety. Allow me the courage to holdfast my convictions.

Dear Lord, I can hold on for awhile... but please don't let this be forever.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beginnings

As 2012 draws to a close, I share with you some of my favorite beginnings...

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008), by Neil Gaiman

"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (1998), J.K. Rowling

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

NEUROMANCER (1984), William Gibson

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES (1980), John Kennedy Toole

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head."

GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (1973), Thomas Pynchon

"A screaming comes across the sky."

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1971), Hunter S. Thompson

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

THE BELL JAR (1963), Sylvia Plath

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

FAHRENHEIT 451 (1953), Ray Bradbury

"It was a pleasure to burn."

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951), J.D. Salinger

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

ANNA KARENINA (1877), Leo Tolstoy

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1859), Charles Dickens

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

MOBY-DICK (1851), Herman Melville

"Call me Ishmael."

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1813), Jane Austen

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been? I’ve been busy trying to earn money for a living, planning my sister’s Bridal Shower, and running errands for her wedding. I’ve also been budgeting for all the expenses, making the decorations and props, and up worrying about everything. Oh, and I took up knitting.

Look at this handsome boy! Meet Angus, my sister’s 4 yr. old Beagle and the first model for Potter Puppies, a collection of scarves I am knitting for all the dogs in the fam (we have four).

The knitting has been therapeutic and good for my mental health, especially after all the strain it has been under. After weeks of not being satisfied with the work, just as I was nearly done, I unraveled it. I just couldn’t give Gus an ugly scarf. So knit I did once more and I am very happy with the final product! How posh and English, this one looks! So poised and preppy!

If any of you know me personally, you know that I’m a leftie. Scour the internet I did for tips and tutorials for beginners… and success! It looks like I finally got the garter stitch (and bi-color!) down pat.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

250 Films in 2 1/2 Minutes

Successfully named a little over 200. I have no life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Spent Halloween playing this super fun Escape from the House of Horrors with 2 of my siblings! For a full account of what happened, head on over to SHUTTERHOUND. I also made a Dinner Party Murder Mystery How-To at Going Martha.

There's Never Going To Be Another Audrey & Marilyn

"There’s Never Going To Be Another Audrey Hepburn Or Marilyn Monroe"
Nov. 01, 2012
By GABY DUNN

Anytime a new actress comes on the scene, she’s divided into one of two categories: the Audrey or the Marilyn. Is she a doll-like brunette with a winning, innocent smile, or is she a voluptuous blonde with a breathy whisper and red lips? Celeb headlines were quick to dub Zooey Deschanel or Carey Mulligan or Rooney Mara or whoever the latest brown-haired it girl was “the new Audrey Hepburn.” Lindsay Lohan is quick to insist over and over that she’s the reincarnation of Monroe. Magazines tout Kate Upton’s full figure and “dumb blonde” nature as Marilyn-esque. Who could forget Anna Nicole Smith?

It’s tempting to look at, let’s say, female celebrities in this narrow way. It’s familiar. It simplifies everything and it deifies the past, the classics, and the old generation without knowing the complexities of these women’s lives. There are the Audreys and there are the Marilyns and that’s it.

Can we just forget this idea already? It’s silly and restrictive and too simple. It’s like a new Madonna/Whore complex. It doesn’t account for the fact that Monroe was more than a bombshell sex symbol, she was actually a kind of brilliant comedic actress or that Hepburn was unlucky in love and only spent nine years with her soul mate before he died (after she had many other failed relationships).

And on another note, there never ever will be a “new” Audrey Hepburn no matter how many magazine articles title their puff pieces this way because there already was THE Audrey Hepburn. Every time I see someone touted as the new Hepburn or Monroe, I want to start a bonfire with Vanity Fairs. It’s like we need context for everything. Like, we’re so obsessed with labeling shit that we want to make things easy and compare new art to old art. It’s why Hollywood is full of sequels and prequels, like security blankets for our stupid brains. We don’t need a new Marilyn. We already had the old Marilyn and that ended tragically. Why are we romanticizing it?

But actresses do it to themselves too. It’s like they only know about two classic actresses: Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Those, as far as anyone today is concerned, were the only two women acting in the 1950s and 60s: The sex pot and the quirky girl. You have to be one. You can not be a real, complex human being.

A celebrity wants to seem demure or cutesy, so why not dress them as Audrey Hepburn for a photo shoot? How many Marilyn-copying photo shoots is La Lohan gonna do? We get it, girl. You think you’re her ghost or something. And it shows no sign of stopping. Clint Eastwood called Beyonce “the next Ella Fitzgerald.” Jay-Z constantly refers to himself as the new Sinatra.

When Heath Ledger died, I was in college. My friends speculated that in twenty or so years, our children would be lining their walls with Ledger posters the way college kids today might put up a James Dean picture to seem hip. Our kids will romanticize Ledger’s death, quoting from his movies, playing cool by saying they’ve seen 10 Things I Hate About You fifteen times. He’ll be the “new” James Dean.

So maybe it’s inevitable. Maybe each generation has to have its own icons, born and extinguished in that generation, to be beloved and adored by the next. But let’s drop the labels of “the new” and appreciate the originals for what they were: the originals. There’s never going to be a new Marilyn Monroe or a new Audrey Hepburn or a new James Dean (sorry James Franco). These homage photo shoots are tired and cliche. These magazine narratives could never hope to expand on the complexities of the real people, both old and new.

If that aesthetic appeals to you, like really appeals to you, then go watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Seven Year Itch and appreciate them and love them and stop looking for these women’s replacements. Because they’ll never be replaced.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

32 Of Life's Perfect Moments

Inspired by, and some copied off of, this THOUGHT CATALOG article.

1.Finding a DIY project so easy, plausible, and with materials so cheap you almost can't believe your luck!

2. Getting something you've already resigned yourself not to, and genuinely being surprised by it.

3. Calling a friend you miss dearly and them being available to meet you and catch up. You then spend the next 8 hours sitting down and laughing.

4. Accidentally running into friends on a day you look (and feel) fantastic!

5. Running into old friends while out for the evening and (after the screams of “OH MY GOD HEY OH MY GOD”) having them seamlessly join in with your group and have an amazing adventure together.

6. Nervously trying something new on a menu (instead of your reliable usual) and having it be absolutely delicious and become a new favorite.

7. Finding the perfect outfit at a price so low you just know it's meant, and been waiting, just for you!

8. Finding out that your favorite television show is bringing the entire cast back together for a movie.

9. Having your iPod randomly play a song so exactly in tune to how you're feeling that you can't help but sing along with it on the top of your lungs!

10. Getting an unexpected night off and having a line-up of favorite shows just waiting in queue for you to watch.

11. Discovering a new band whose music just resonates with you.

12. Turning on the tv just in time to catch an old favorite -- mostly of the chick-flick variety of the 90's such as Father Of The Bride or The First Wives Club.

13. Expecting a day to go very slowly and realizing that before you know it, it's time to head home!

14. Being late to something and freaking out about it, only to have the other person text you first and say that they, too, are going to be late.

15. Dancing with someone in the kitchen as the two of you make dinner together.

16. Finding a quiet moment in your week to just relax.

17. Realizing you overbudgeted for something and then having more cash than you expected after! (This is one reason why I overbudget.)

18. Finishing whatever you're knitting. And then seeing it worn by whoever you made it for. Seriously. This crack is fulfilling.

19. Meeting someone, starting a conversation with them, and realizing you have so much in common (OH MY GOD, YOU TOO? I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE!!!!)

20. Going to a concert and having every live performance of the song live up perfectly to your expectations of it based on the studio recording.

21. Seeing the JOY on your dog's face right as you enter the door.

22. Taking a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and having that drop in your stomach as the plane takes off where you feel the perfect mix of nervous about living up to your expectations and excited that you’re finally doing something you always said you would.

23. Getting that "THIS IS IT. THIS IS REALLY IT. SOMETHING SPECIAL AND EXCITING IS WAITING FOR ME AROUND THE CORNER" feeling right before you do something for the very first time.

24. Realizing you and your best friend have the means, time, and money to go to a foreign country together.

25. Seeing someone you love and have been away for quite awhile from walk through those gates at the airport and you're both stricken with so much joy that your breath momentarily catches on your throat and your heart squeezes. Time also slows down and in one of life's rare moments, you legitimately feel like you are in a movie.

26. Rainy days where you don't have to leave your bed at all.

27. Doing something you always said you would, but never thought you'd get around to.

28. Finding something you've been searching for FOREVER.

29. Checking your pockets and pulling out some cash you've forgotten long about.

30. Finding old pictures and letters then, consequently, spending an entire afternoon reminiscing and getting nostalgic.

31. Having something turn WAY BETTER than expected.

32. Looking at your room/ apartment/ house right after slaving away all day trying to get it clean and organized.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Call Me A

... and not the one from Pretty Little Liars.

How Many Have You Loved?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thinking

As a part-time event coordinator, I've been involved in the behind-the-scenes going-ons of countless events. Cocktail parties, conferences, Halloween parties, christenings, birthdays, anniversaries, what have you -- It's been my job to troubleshoot, work on props, decorations, filings, secretariat and clerical jobs, etc. And recently, since my sister got engaged and I've been meaning to expand my dessert business (perfect timing since I'm doing her dessert table, free advertising and publicity!!!), weddings.

Because of this, I find myself constantly inspired by every DIY project I see, and obsessed with keeping myself productive. Due to the nature of my job, I often have free time in between events. When not at the office or at event grounds, I'm maniacally buying little things that need some re-inventing.

This has led me to the point of this blog post -- should I start a lifestlye blog? I've barely kept this one afloat... but this goes hand in hand with my interests. Hm. Something to ponder.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TiMER

While it has a promising offbeat romantic comedy plot, TiMER falls short on delivering each and every time. Uninspired, dull, and stagnant doesn't even begin to describe the performances, while boring and vapid are pretty spot-on descriptions of the film. This happens to be one of the very few movies that I wish could be re-made with a better script, and better actors. Also, WTF was that ending.

Life doesn't offer many guarantees, but in the alternate universe of writer-director Jac Schaeffer's feature debut, the romantic comedy TiMER, people can get a digital clock implanted on their wrist that counts down to the second they meet "the one." It even sounds a little alarm the first time two soul mates look into each other's eyes. The device is not working too well for Oona (Emma Caulfield, who played Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), because her TiMER is blank. That means her soul mate, whoever he is, hasn't yet signed up for the service. So Oona dates guys without TiMERs, and forces them to get the implant if the relationship looks promising. But so far, no dice. Oona's twentysomething half sister, Steph (Michelle Borth), is also unlucky. Her TiMER tells her she won't meet Mr. Right for about 20 more years. While Steph sows her wild oats, resigned not to commit to a relationship, Oona, approaching 30, obsesses over her TiMER. Oona meets a cute younger guy working at the local supermarket, but Mikey (John Patrick Amedori of Gossip Girl) already has a TiMER, and it's set to go off in a few months. "Life is about detours," he tells her, but Oona's not convinced. Meanwhile, Steph meets dashing and TiMER-less Dan (Desmond Harrington, also of Gossip Girl). Dan is interested in Steph, but she knows he's not "the one" for her, so she tries to set him up with Oona

Northanger Abbey

Felicity Jones shines in Northanger Abbey as the film's wildly imaginative heroine, Catherine Morland. With nary a flaw at hand, her grasp on her character is ironclad that you often feel the need to go off with her on one of her daydreams and musings. In support, J.J. Field's Henry Tilney, with his kind eyes and smiling face, offers the ideal male counterpart to Jones's wide-eyed wonder and Carey Mulligan's spot on performance and the selfish and shallow Isabella Thorpe makes you want to slap her. Bravo!

Felicity Jones and J.J. Feild star in this made for television adaptation of Jane Austen's easygoing parody of gothic fiction concerning a hopeless romantic drawn into a mysterious relationship. Catherine Morland (Jones) longs for the day that a dashing gentleman will finally sweep her off her feet. Upon receiving an invitation to a lavish medieval home deep in the countryside, Catherine allows her most lurid fantasies to wash over her. Later, as Catherine sets out to explore the sprawling mansion, she forms a friendship with Henry Tilney (Feild) - the youngest son of the estate. Much to Catherine's disappointment, however, their blossoming romance is soon stifled under shadowy circumstances.

This Means War

I'm sorry but I am just so angry at Reese Witherspoon's decision here that I can't bring myself to form cohesive and cogent thoughts.

The world's deadliest CIA operatives are inseparable partners and best friends until they fall for the same woman. Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now employing their incomparable skills and an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis ever - each other.

L'Arnacoeur

FINALLY! A decent rom-com to put in my blog. If you combined all of the best elements of romantic comedies, you'd find yourself making a cheap ass version of L'Arnacoeur. The French sure know what they're doing. In this hilarious romp, we find ourselves falling in love with Romain Duris's "cool, smooth, mysterious" Alex, and Vanessa Paradis's marble-cold Juliette. Laugh-out-loud silly with a soundtrack that's on crack, the lethal combination of Duris's charm as an homme fatale, Monte Carlo's beautiful scenery, and Pascal Chaumeil's approach to farce more than comedy, makes for the perfect screwball rom-com.

HEARTBREAKER is an action-packed romantic comedy pairing two of France's biggest young stars: Romain Duris (THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED, PARIS) and actress/singer Vanessa Paradis (GIRL ON THE BRIDGE). A smash hit in France, the film was also featured at the Tribeca Film Festival. Charming, funny and effortlessly cool, Alex (Duris) is a professional heartbreaker who for a fee can turn any husband, fiance or boyfriend into an ex. Alex has one ironclad rule: He only breaks up couples where the woman is unhappy. His latest job will put that rule to the test. The target is Juliette, a beautiful heiress who is set to marry the man of her dreams. With ten days until the wedding, Alex has been hired by her father to carry out his most daring seduction yet that risks him being caught by his ruthless personal creditors, angry exes, and the beautiful and independent Juliette herself. But worst of all, will he discover to his own cost that when it comes to love, the perfect plan doesn't exist? This fall no one will be able to resist HEARTBREAKER.

I Want To Marry Ryan Banks

I'm ashamed to admit I watched this, ha ha! But hey, Jason Priestley was big in the 90's and hello Bradley Cooper! I really must stop with all of the made-for-tv movies. It's embarrassing.

Former Beverly Hills 90210 costars Jason Priestley and Emma Caulfield are reunited in this frothy made-for-cable romantic comedy. Priestly plays Ryan Banks, a once-popular movie actor whose career is in the toilet, not only because of bad role choices but also because of his unsavory reputation as an irresponsible womanizer. In hopes of revitalizing Ryan's career, his manager and best friend Todd Doherty (Bradley Cooper) comes up with an inspiration: A network reality show called "I Want to Marry Ryan Banks", in which the title character will live in the same house with 15 attractive young women, all of them prospective brides. In fine Mark Burnett tradition, one of the female contestants will be voted out each week by the viewers, with the winner chosen by popular demand. The girl who seems to have the inside track is blue-collar Charlene "Charlie" Norton (Emma Caulfield), who has entered the contest because she needs the prize money. Complications arise when, as the series draws ever nearer to its conclusion, Charlie balks at the notion of wedding Ryan Banks, only to be told that if she doesn't, she'll be sued within an inch of her life -- and making things even stickier, Todd Doherty has fallen in love with Charlie himself!

Revenge Of The Bridesmaids

Nothing really to say about this film; it's pretty straightforward. No strong feelings whatsoever. Very tv-movie, so you might want to watch it when you're bored and feeling silly.

Two women (Raven-Symoné and JoAnna Garcia) try to sabotage their former friend's wedding by becoming her bridesmaids. Their motive is revenge, since the bride stole their pal's boyfriend.

Au Pair

You can take the girl out of her teens, but you can't take the teens out of the girl (or, for better wording, you can't take the girl's teens away from the girl.) Anyways, back when I was a teeny bopper, I had a penchant for watching and (secretly) loving each and every ABC tv movie I could get my fat, geeky hands on. Enter Au Pair. Au Pair, again, has the plot treatment of many before it. Still, one can't help but be delighted to watch something so unapologetically young, and, well, girly. A film to watch during a sleepover with your sisters, or bffs! And oh yeah, this made me want to be an Au Pair. Truth.

After months of unemployment, young MBA Jenny Morgan (Heidi Noelle Lenhart) applies for what she thinks is an administrative position with the firm owned by handsome business executive Oliver Caldwell (Gregory Harrison). Unforutnately, someone's signals have gotten crossed, and Jenny finds she has been hired as nanny for the widowed Caldwell's spoiled-brat kids Kate (Katie Volding) and Alex (Jake Dinwiddie). Despite her daunting lack of experience as a surrogate mom, Jenny manages to bond with the kids, who behave badly mainly because their dad doesn't spend any time with them. During a trip abroad, Kate and Alex decide to play matchmaker for Oliver and Jenny, even though both adults already have fiancés. But taking into account that Kate's boyfriend Charlie (Michael Woolson) is an aimless dork and Oliver's intended Vivian (Jane Sibbert) is a bitch on wheels, it isn't hard to figure out how things will turn out. And if there are any doubts, just ask Caldwell's wry, all-knowing chauffeur Nigel Kent (John Rhys-Davies).

Maid In Manhattan

The thing about me is that while I do love new stories, I always have a soft spot for the classics: the ones whose plot has been done and redone several times over throughout the decades. Such is the case with Maid In Manhattan. While of course it holds no candle to the originals, the parallels are evident enough. Small-time girl (impoverished) working as a maid (chambermaid/ nanny/ governess) at a 5-star hotel (or Abbey/ Castle/ Park) in Manhattan, one of the most famous cities (town/ land) in the world, and falls for the lofty State Assemblyman (or President/ Lord/ Baron/ Duke/ Viscount/ etc...) -- indeed, we all know this story. That being said, I'm probably one of the very few girls who openly admit to enjoying Maid In Manhattan. Sure, JLo is more renowned for her backside than her acting skills, but I didn't think that meant she was a bad actress. And Ralph Fiennes, perfect man that he is, in a romantic comedy is sure to send fanatics' hearts aflutter. Sigh.

Can a wealthy Republican politician find happiness with a chambermaid from the Bronx? One man is about to find out, though he hardly realizes it at first, in this romantic comedy from director Wayne Wang. Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother who is raising her gifted but under-confident son Ty (Tyler Garcia Posey) on her own, with some help from her mother Veronica (Priscilla Lopez), after divorcing her husband. Marisa works as a housekeeper at the exclusive Beresford Hotel in Manhattan, where her boss Paula Burns (Frances Conroy) and chief butler Lionel Bloch (Bob Hoskins) urge Marisa and her best friend and fellow maid Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) to be as efficient and inconspicuous as possible. One day, while cleaning the room of noted socialite Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson), Stephanie spies a beautiful designer gown and dares Marisa to try it on; against her better judgment, she does, and while all dolled up, she bumps into Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), a wealthy and well-bred bachelor who is running for the Senate. Immediately charmed, Chris asks Marisa to join him for a walk in Central Park, assuming she's the blue-blooded Caroline. Marisa manages to join Chris for the afternoon, with Ty in tow, and Chris finds himself quite taken with Marisa's beauty and down-to-earth personality, as well as Ty's precocious interest in politics. Chris later calls Caroline's room to set up a lunch date, but soon discovers the stuffy Ms. Lane is not the woman he met before. Marisa is also attracted to Chris, but while her friends encourage her to pursue a romance, Veronica believes her daughter is asking for trouble by trying to win a man so far out of her social strata.

Lucky 7

I've loved Kimberly Williams-Paisley and her wide-eyed, girl-next-door, fresh, pretty face since I first saw her as Annie Banks in Father Of The Bride (something I must watch again soon!) Her sweet demeanor and friendly presence on screen is a welcome treat amidst a sea of boring, perfect, bland hollywood actresses. In 2003's Lucky 7, Kim stars as Amy, the well-meaning and perfectionist daughter of a widower whose wife lived long enough to provide their precocious daughter with a foolproof timeline and route to success. As Amy coasts through her well-time schedule, she meets a few bumps along the way and figures out that maybe spontaneity wouldn't be so bad and her mom didn't mean for her to take the map quite so literally. Lucky 7 is fast-paced, fun, and happy.

On her deathbed, Rachel Myer (Gail O'Grady) rallies long enough to provide her seven-year-old daughter Amy with a foolproof "timeline" to achieve great success in life. Growing up to become a prominent Seattle lawyer, Amy (played as an adult by Kimberly Williams-Paisley) has never gone wrong following her late mother's advice. Crucial to the timeline is her quest for the perfect husband. As pre-determined by her mom, the lucky man will have to be Amy's seventh boyfriend. Unfortunately, Amy has fallen deeply in love with Boyfriend Number Six, a good-looking, if somewhat pompous, young blade named Daniel (Brad Rowe). So as not to upset the continuum, Amy must shop around for an "alternate" number six, enabling Daniel to emerge as number seven. The man ultimately chosen for the express purpose of being dumped by Amy is Peter Connor (Patrick Dempsey), a former Wall Street broker now running a small bagel store.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Beautician And The Beast

The Beautician and the Beast is The Nanny: the movie on steroids. And I do love me some Fran Fine/ Fran Drescher. This delightful watch is the perfect way to end a hard day at work. Street smart with heart never looked this groomed.

Joy Miller (Fran Drescher) is a beautician who teaches an evening course in hairstyling at a Brooklyn community college. When a cigarette dropped on a wig leads to a fire, Joy saves the lab animals kept in the building and achieves 15 minutes of local notoriety. Grushinsky (Ian McNeice), a representative of the leader of the small Eastern European nation of Slovetzia, is visiting the United States while looking for a tutor for the leader's three children. Thinking Joy teaches science (apparently the Slovetzian government doesn't check the resumes of their teaching staff too closely), Grushinsky offers Joy the job, believing that it would be good PR to have a well-known American educator on hand. Joy takes the job and must now deal with Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton), the grim and humorless tyrant who rules Slovetzia. Joy's low-brow fashion sense and broad nasal twang of a voice don't sit well with Boris at first, but the kids love her; in time, she teaches Boris to lighten up and enjoy himself, and romance begins to bloom between the unlikely couple. While Fran Drescher had a number of film roles before her TV series The Nanny, this was her first starring role following the show's success.

An Ideal Husband

With slightly less camp than the aforementioned (aforeblogged?) The Importance Of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband holds its own with Wilde lovers and moviegoers combined. Rupert Everett stars with the otherworldly Cate Blanchett and charming Jeremy Northam on this look at how there is much more to reputation, whether good or bad, than meets the eye. Armed with wit to kill and a cast whose talent and beauty is to be revered, An Ideal Husband is definitely riveting in its satirical way.

A romantic and sentimental comedy set at the turn of the 19th century, An Ideal Husband delves into themes of love, passion, and betrayal among the aristocracy. Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam), a brilliant politician and a perfect gentleman, is the ideal husband for the charming Lady Chiltern (Cate Blanchett). They have a widely envied marriage until charming Mrs. Cheveley (Julianne Moore) appears with the intention of revealing a dark secret from Chiltern's past. When his world seems to be falling apart, Chiltern turns to his lifelong friend Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett), the most eligible bachelor in town. Goring soon finds himself caught up in a web of lies, temptations, and secret liaisons. Furthermore, the persistent charms of Sir Robert's sister Mabel (Minnie Driver) are becoming a serious threat to his much-cherished bachelorhood. Using political intrigue and clever wit, An Ideal Husband draws a picture of a society struggling with issues still valid today.

The Importance Of Being Earnest

Ah, we're back to my true love: period films! It really did start it all for me -- the romance, the setting, the dialogue, the nonsensical farce of it all. Period pieces are my crack. Now, add some Oscar Wilde wit to it, and some Colin Firth goodness, and you've got the quickest route to my heart. The Importance Of Being Earnest is a delight to watch, and something you will come back to more and more as time passes. Indeed, like an old friend, I keep visiting these characters over and over for a wonderful catch up.

A superb cast brings Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners to life in the third big-screen adaptation of this hilarious look at fun, games, and dubious ethics among the British upper crust. Algernon Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) is a slightly shady, but charming gentlemen from a wealthy family who has a bad habit of throwing his money away. Algernon has a close friend named Jack Worthing (Colin Firth), a self-made man who acts as a ward to his cousin, a beautiful young lady named Cecily (Reese Witherspoon). Algernon has created an alter ego to help him get out of tight spots brought on by his financial improprieties, and when he learns that Jack has created a false identity of his own -- Earnest, a brother living in London whose exploits have earned him no small amount of notoriety -- Algernon arrives for a weekend visit in the country posing as the mysterious Earnest. Having heard of Earnest's misadventures many times over the years, Cecily had developed something of an infatuation with the lovable rogue, and Algernon's impersonation of him works no small degree of magic on Cecily. Meanwhile, Algernon's cousin, Gwendolyn (Frances O'Connor), arrives for the weekend, and is startled to discover Jack is also there -- except that she knows him as bad-boy Earnest. So just who is in love with who? How will Lady Bracknell (Judi Dench) handle the matter of her daughter Gwendolyn's suitors? And what's the truth about Jack's mysterious heritage? The Importance of Being Earnest was director Oliver Parker's second film adaptation of an Oscar Wilde comedy; he previously helmed An Ideal Husband, which also starred Rupert Everett. Everett and Colin Firth also co-starred in the 1984 drama Another Country.

Love And Mary

Apart from my undying need to watch each and every romantic comedy set forth on our land, as well as boredom with nary a book to read nor movie in mind to watch, I can not give you any other reason as to why I took it upon myself to put Love And Mary on. I can't even remember how I came across the title. It wasn't bad, it was just... unremarkable. It could be because I didn't see much of myself in the protagonist (and considering how she's a baker who is obsessed with adopting a sophisticated air about her -- we might have been bosom buddies!), but I really just found her to be pesky at worst, boring at best. Still, I was quite surprised that I found Gabriel Mann to be cute in this film! Brunette obviously suits him better.

A woman pulling a minor scam to keep her dream business alive digs herself in deeper when she becomes involved with a goofy ex-con in this independent comedy from first-time director Elizabeth Harrison. Mary Wilson (Lauren German) was born and raised in Texas, but by the time she became an adult she'd grown tired of her off-the-wall family and moved East to build a career for herself. Mary is an expert chef who has opened an upscale bakeshop, but some bad press and a severe rent increase could put her out of business. Desperate to keep the store afloat, Mary decides to bite the bullet and go back to Texas for a visit; her plan is to bring along her fiancé Brent (Gabriel Mann), introduce him to her folks, and hope their engagement gifts will bring enough cash to pay off her creditors. However, a severe allergic reaction prevents Brent from going; Mary can't afford to postpone the trip, so she brings along Brent's twin brother Jake (also played by Mann), an irresponsible jailbird, to impersonate her intended as she pumps her family for money.

The Decoy Bride

Who doesn't love David Tennant? And who doesn't love a well-imagined romance with a killer soundtrack to boot? And who doesn't love David Tennant starring in a well-imagined romance with a killer soundtrack to boot? So little films involving a love triangle is shown concerning three very different but all wonderful people, and The Decoy Bride does just that. No one is secretly an evil fiancee. No one sets out to rip the original pair apart. Instead, what we have here is a look at how human beings entangle themselves at the worst possible time. Mistaken identities, various European accents (we've got British and Scottish here), and witty dialogue will sure have you laughing by the end. Throw in David Tennant and Kelly MacDonald, plus that amazing OST I was just telling you about, and you've got yourself an immediate must-watch.

When the wedding of internationally famous film star Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) to tweedy English author James Arber (David Tennant) is sabotaged by a paparazzo, they decide to relocate the event to the one place where the world's press won't find them: the sleepy Island of Hegg, as featured in James' bestselling novel The Ornithologists Wife. However, dilapidated buildings and greedy islanders are the least of the problems that the wedding party and their Hollywood entourage have to deal with, as Marco (Federico Castelluccio) the ingenious paparazzo tracks them down in his mission to photograph the celebrity wedding of the year. Steve and his assistant Emma (Sally Phillips) must find a decoy bride and think that local girl Katie (Kelly MacDonald) will be an ideal replacement. But when Katie meets James, sparks fly, dresses get ruined and love gets complicated.

Sundays At Tiffany's

Based on the novel of the same name by James Patterson, Sundays at Tiffany's is crack for hallmark/ abc tv movie-goers like me. Straightforward, funny, cute, and sweet, it holds up to its promise of putting a smile on your face. "What if your imaginary friend ends up being the love of your life?" What an extraordinary and ridiculous thought! That is indeed what the premise of the film (as well as book) is about. If any of you feel the need to be transported back to the days when love held magic, this film will keep you great company on a weekend with your two other pals: Ben and Jerry. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy.

Meet the very serious Jane Claremont (Alyssa Milano, TV's "Charmed"). A perfect planner, she works as the always-in-control manager of the theater owned by her mother Vivian (Stockard Channing, TV's "The West Wing"). Engaged to the handsome, successful actor Hugh (Ivan Sergei, The Break-Up), Jane's got a plan for everything - until the unexpected return of her childhood imaginary friend, Michael (Eric Winter, TV's "Days of Our Lives"). She hasn't seen Michael since one fateful day at Tiffany's when she was ten years old. Now he's back, making her doubt her sanity while rediscovering joy, innocence and creativity. Jane thought she had life all figured out... but thanks to Michael, she's about to reimagine everything. From the best-sellerby beloved authors James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet comes a love story like no other.

Made Of Honor

It is no secret that I advocate romance comedies in all its simplistic glory. Truly, I am one of the last few true blue romantics. The head-in-the-cloud, bubblegum, cookie cutter, cue in a happy Natalie Cole song in the background while I float on thinking of which scenes to put in a montage type of romantic. I will try any rom-com flick, be it one that came out 6 decades ago, or one that came out 6 days ago. And so, against my better judgment, I put on Made Of Honor because it is one of the very few ones that I couldn't bring myself to sit through. This god-awful film is really the reason why one of my favorite genres is looked at so appallingly in most circles. Phoooey! Patrick Dempsey, whom I loved in Sweet Home Alabama, really scraped the barrel with this one. Made Of Honor is a poor man's version of My Bestfriend's Wedding and is severely lacking in the magic its predecessor held.

A handsome and successful bachelor is taken aback when his dream girl asks him to be the "maid" of honor in her upcoming wedding in this romantic comedy starring Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan. Tom (Dempsey) and Hannah (Monaghan) have been best friends for years. Though all the hard times, Hannah has been the one constant in Tom's life, and the one person he knows he can always rely on. When Hannah leaves for a six-week business trip in Scotland, Tom is surprised to realize how truly lonely he is without her. Life just isn't the same without Hannah around, so the moment she returns, Tom resolves to ask for her hand in marriage. But apparently Hannah's trip wasn't all business, because upon returning home Hannah announces that she has gotten engaged to a dashing Scotsman and will soon be starting a new life overseas. She's convinced that Tom will be thrilled for her, and wants him to play a crucial role in the wedding. His spirits crushed but his love for Hannah stronger than ever before, Tom reluctantly agrees to be the "maid" of honor so that he can prove his love in no uncertain terms and convince her to call off the wedding before true happiness slips through his fingers.

Teeth

"Every rose has its thorns" and with teeth, ain't that the truth. Mithell Lichtenstein's gruesome cautionary tale is one of the most well done dark comedies that I've ever come across! The writing is superb and the acting, superior! Jess Weixler manages to juxtapose ingenue and temptress in her beautiful performance as our young protagonist. What kills me with this film is how many an audience felt her condition was a curse -- truly I think it a gift considering how many men tried to abuse her sexually (and the script really is well done seeing as how it didn't induce that awful barf-in-your-mouth, close-your-eyes, and wait-for-it-to-be-over feeling that so many sexual assault films do, instead, we end up rooting for her to fight back and give her assailants what they deserve). Unapologetic in its nature, I will not recommend this film to those who shy away from grotesque, lurid, and vividly graphic scenes. Incredibly tongue-in-cheek, Teeth has all the requirements for a cult classic.

High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth.

Excision

I watched Excision because I wanted to pay tribute to Halloween-month without outright watching horror, coward that I am. Annalynne McCord makes a brilliant turn as the delusional albeit well-meaning teen outcast in Excision, Richard Bates Jr.'s take on dark comedy. The scenes where our young anti-heroine talks to God is a particular favorite of mine, but the rest of the movie came to me with the shock value of a thousand watt taser. Consequently, I can not decide whether I enjoyed this film or not. The only thing for certain is that I don't regret watching this film, sick to my stomach as it made me. Oh, and the "de-prettyfying" of Annalynne in this film is hilarious. Also, Jeremy Sumpter will always be Peter Pan. The scene where he goes down on her though... euck.

A surgery-obsessed teen struggles with her outcast status while plotting to lose her virginity and save her sister from the ravaging effects of cystic fibrosis in this genre-bending shocker from writer/director Richard bates, Jr. Pauline (Annalynne McCord) is a pretty young girl whose penchant for picking scabs has escalated into a fanatical obsession with the flesh. Recognizing this, Pauline's stern mother insists that the young girl visit the church therapist for counseling. Incensed at the prospect of being judged by a religious hypocrite, Pauline only delves deeper into her visceral fantasies while concocting an ingenious plan to impress her mother. Meanwhile, as Pauline begins devising ways to combat her younger sister's cystic fibrosis, her adolescent hormones kick into overdrive.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest

Further cementing my love for all things Colin Firth, Oscar Wilde, and period pieces, the best scene from the 2002 film adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Romantic Comedies

In defense of romantic comedies:

Romantic Comedies are like chocolate bars. Liking them does not automatically make me an obese and unhealthy person, even eating them and enjoying them every once in a while. I know it's unhealthy to eat only them. Romantic comedies are the same, just because I enjoy them does not mean I am wasting my life pining after some unrealistic romantic ideal.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Woody Allen

"In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cyber Crime

With all of this to-do and hullabaloo surrounding the recent proposed addendum to the Cyber Crime law, I couldn't help but think that maybe the country is better off going to Cyber Rehab than fighting a battle that will not be.

Sure, the hubbub will not die down soon, and the 11 Senators up for re-election on Halalan 2013 who voted FOR this bizarre and unjust law will have statements to say, but if SOPA and PIPA were trashed, what makes the Philippines think that they have the power -- nay, the RIGHT -- to infringe upon the privacy of its citizens, as well as their freedom of speech.

Some of the provisions of this law makes sense, as Criela stated in her blog, child pornography is definitely something we should fight against, but that isn't what the Filipino netizens are in an uproar about. The line that Tito Sotto blurred when he added the anti-cyber bullying/ libel/ slander supplement is what caused the collective angry huff of online Filipinos.

Following his shameful bouts with plagiarism in his recent speeches, Filipinos gathered en masse and took to the internet their disappointment with their elected official (who also happens to take the office of Senate Majority Floor Leader. I shake my head in disgust). When the Filipinos cried foul and tried to browbeat the lofty senator into making an apology, he made it worse by either 1) outright denying the claims or 2) stating that "hindi krimen ang Plagiarism sa Pilipinas"/ "Plagiarism is not a crime in the Philippines". Way to go, Senator. Bobby Kennedy (whom he plagiarized) is rolling over in his grave.

And now, it seems to me that after suffering the sharp tongue of affronted kababayans, this is Tito Sotto's way of pushing back; of strong-arming the Filipinos to his will. After all, he did deny Leloy Claudio and Miguel Syjuco their proposed debate as they were not worthy of his time, not being elected officials and all (so it seems we're right back to the RH Bill debate. Hello, square one. Nice to see you again.)

As a self-proclaimed netizen, however, I do hold to question what exactly constitutes as cyber bullying. I've only REALLY seen them in gossip sites and most of those cases and claims are against celebrities who never really see what is written about them. Majority of the cyberheads I know have gone the extra mile to protect themselves from vicious bullies looking for new prey. All accounts: social media, instant messaging, emails, blogs... these all have the option to be private. And well, if you don't use the necessary means to parry those blows, when you expose your life to the world in that manner, you do set yourself up to hear the good and the bad. So here's my say: cyber bullying can be prevented. There are precautions for that. Those who get cyber bullied ALLOW themselves to get cyber bullied. Simple enough.

In any case, I've rambled enough, and written things that would put me to jail. But as a last say: Tito Sotto, I think the measures you have taken to stroke your bruised ego is tantamount to the amount of beating it will take once this silly act passes. You have been warned.

From Criela's blog: the definition of Libel based on the Revised Penal Code:

LIBEL



"Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.
Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. — A libel committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
Art. 356. Threatening to publish and offer to present such publication for a compensation. — The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who threatens another to publish a libel concerning him or the parents, spouse, child, or other members of the family of the latter or upon anyone who shall offer to prevent the publication of such libel for a compensation or money consideration."

Spring Breakers

This definitely looks interesting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Baby

As a child, I was overtly fond of animals. We never lacked for pets at home, and I was left a very happy camper. They were well-housed, well-taken care of, well-fed, and well-loved. As I grew older, I carried this trait with me.

I love all of my siblings' dogs very much, and I would pretty much do anything for them, but I admit that there is a very special place in my heart (and life) for Nana, my Lhasa Apso whom I shared ownership with my beautiful niece with. He was the first I thought was truly mine -- the dog I would grow old with.

Last year, after 7 years worth of love, laughter, and memories, Nana met his maker. You can imagine my devastation. He was old, to be sure, but his life could have been longer. It kills me that I wasn't able to give him that.

True to his ever sweet nature, a couple of days before his passing, Nana found his way to my bed. We cuddled, I talked, and we spent a very good night together. 2 days after, as I went off to celebrate my friend's birthday, I received a call that Nana went to Rainbow Bridge.

I was paralyzed with shock, it felt like I floated, but my heart found its way to my eyes and for the first time in a really long time, I cried myself to sleep. Those tears stayed with me for quite a while and to this day, a year later, I still have tears for my little one. Even now, as I write this blog post, I find my nose runny and my eyes sore. Nana is and was my best friend.

2 days ago, I gave myself another chance at taking responsibility for another's life. Yes, Nana's demise was traumatizing, but that's no reason not to give "motherhood" another shot. Enter Mochi (photographed above). As I awaited his arrival, I was a slave to mixed emotions -- excitement, of course, but more importantly, anxiety. I don't want Nana, in Rainbow Bridge he might be, to feel like I simply replaced him like I would an old shoe. That is not the case.

As my siblings have put it, I have to honor Nana by putting in more effort with Mochi. Doing so does not lessen my love for Nana in any way. This does not also mean that I love Mochi any less, of course not. It simply means I love Nana in a different way -- it is a younger, more passionate, more naive kind of love. The love wherein I thought he would stay with me forever, no matter what my failings were. With Mochi, I know now that love requires more than the affection. It means the poopies, the peepees, the hard bills, the whatnot. I hope I give Nana a smile knowing that in almost all that I do, he is still in my mind.

So Mochi, my little angel, I hope you know that even with all the anxiety, it is all on me. It does not make me love you any less, as I so obviously can't be ripped away from you. Tomorrow night, before you sleep, I will tell you a story about your big brother. I love the both of you so very much.

*All photographs from Shutterhound's tumblr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

I can't even begin to tell you just how disappointed I am with this film. As a self-proclaimed Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, and Alison Brie fanatic, this film, along with the poster, has made me feel misled and lied to. Midway through the movie, the only reason I didn't leave was because I had nothing better to do. The plot and poster has made me feel cheated. Not something I plan on ever re-watching. The Five-Year Engagement is a Five-Year wait to nothing.

The director and writer/star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for the irreverent comedy The Five-Year Engagement. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the new film from director Nicholas Stoller, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Rodney Rothman (Get Him to the Greek) looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Despite its line-up of promising actors, WTEWYE just falls short -- on humor, pain, sympathy, and love. While touching base with all of those emotions, it barely scratches the surface of each one. Disjointed plotlines, irrelevant characters, and meaningless stories all add up to one could've-been film that doesn't even cross the "ok" line.

Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don't stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy's husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who's expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn't so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a "dudes" support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco's surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?

Bachelorette

I probably enjoyed Bachelorette much more than I should, and much more than I could, because of my undeniable love for about 80% of the cast. Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer, James Marsden, and Adam Scott totally made this better than it actually is. However, when the film relies solely on its actors, you know there's something wrong with the writing. Still, I must admit it was quite fun hearing Kiki Dunst get referred to as Hannibal Lecter and seeing James Marsden play the douche guy for once.

On the night before an old friend's wedding, three frisky bridesmaids go searching for a little fun but find much more than they bargained for. With lovely Becky (Rebel Wilson) set to marry her handsome sweetheart, Dale (Hayes MacArthur), the remaining members of her high school clique reunite for one last bachelorette bacchanal in the Big Apple. Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is an overachieving, ueber-Maid of Honor who's secretly smarting over the fact that she's not the first to marry, while Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is a whip-smart sarcastic who's actually a closet romantic, and Katie (Isla Fisher) is a ditzy beauty who loves the good life. But when Becky insists on keeping the bachelorette party tame, the women proceed with an after-hours celebration of their own.

Once

Once is that special movie that hits you right in the jugular after a series of "meh", "blah", and "so-so" films. It pulls you in, encapsulates you, and just when you think you can't take any more, leaves you panting. The rawness, truth, and openness of the film, as well as the characters, adds to the charm of a quiet but powerful movie that evokes such strong feelings in its viewers. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are perfectly cast as the two protagonists, leading us down one of the richest stories I've ever come to witness. And the soundtrack is killer. The music, as is the movie, is heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.

"In an era when Hollywood has largely lost the ability to distinguish between romance and sex, Once is the rare film that recognizes that love is no less love for being held in check, it is merely a different kind of love." - Christopher Orr

A Dublin-based busker and vacuum-cleaner repairman enters into a fruitful relationship with a piano playing florist in a toe-tapping "video album" directed by John Carney and featuring a cast comprised entirely of professional musicians. He (Glen Hansard of the Frames) was a six-stringed street musician. She (Markéta Irglová) was a flower woman who couldn't afford to purchase a piano of her own. One day, after admiring the musician's songs and asking if he would take a look at her broken vacuum, the flower-pushing piano player discovers that she shares a remarkable sonic rapport with the mechanically savvy guitarist. As their musical sensibilities quickly converge to striking effect, the talented pair soon determines to record an album together.

Beauty & the Briefcase

You can take the girl out of Disney, but you can't take the Disney out of the girl. I must confess, from time to time, I look for the most shallow, empty, and banal of movies if it includes someone I used to watch often in my youth. Hence, Hilary Duff in B&tB. The film wasn't super bad, but the constant drift of the protagonist's thoughts could, at times, get tedious and wearing. Make no mistake, this is the squeaky clean pre-teen version of a romantic-comedy. 2 things I loved were Matt Dallas and Michael McMillan.

Determined fashion journalist Lane Daniels (Hilary Duff) weighs love against ambition while researching the Cosmopolitan cover story that could make or break her career. An aspiring writer who has always dreamt of penning a cover story for Cosmo, Lane makes a pitch to editor Kate White (Jaime Pressly) for an article entitled "Switching Careers to Find Love." Incredibly, Kate gives Lane the green light, instructing her to first seek out a corporate job, and commence dating as many of her co-workers as possible. In no time, Lane is punching the clock, and juggling boyfriends. But while Tom (Michael McMillan) and Seth (Matt Dallas) are both plenty of fun, charming music producer Liam (Chris Carmack) is the guy who really drives Lane wild. Trouble is, Liam doesn't work in Lane's office, so he's strictly off-limits. Now, with her biggest career goal finally within grasp, Lane must choose to follow her heart, or give in to ambition.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Keep In Mind

A few words to keep in mind from my beautiful, wonderful, and intelligent friend.

Changing
By Ton Rivera
Sept. 06, 2012

In the face of this new adversity I am facing, everything else seems trivial. I feel like I've suddenly aged ten years. So, self, please remember:

Don't dwell too long on the people you want in your life who may not feel the same way. There may be other people who need you in theirs and you need to focus on them. Don't be bitter or hold grudges. Eventually, you have to stop feeling guilty, second-guessing yourself on whether you inadvertently offended people that caused them to turn away. Apologize sincerely then let it simmer. You have no control over their reactions or feelings. They may be onto "more important" things at the moment. Attend to those who care, and are always there to help or listen to you. Thank your lucky stars, thank God, for these people. Most importantly, try to always be kind. Bite your tongue whenever you feel unpleasant words forming themselves in your mouth. Stop yourself from talking whenever you are angry. Stop talking back. it's always more difficult to not fight back, it builds character. Cry when you have to. Be kind to yourself as well. Everyone makes mistakes, and be humble enough to acknowledge yours. Try to learn from them. Try to get better. Work, engage and invest your efforts well. Remember your motivations, remember the reasons you wanted this: family, helping others, God. Pray a lot. Remember that your salvation isn't entirely up to you. Remember your weaknesses, but also remember your strengths. Remember the past: remember how you got through the most difficult of situations, with hardly enough money, or with an incomplete family. Remember your victories, because they are a testament to your will. Remember that in the face of the storm that is your life right now, your only advantage is you have the ability to maintain that certain calmness. Think things through, and you will find a way. You are not stupid, at the very least. Remember that things do get better. Remember that this is just one more phase to go through. You will survive. Your heart may be tired but it is not weak. It may be weary but it will carry you through. You will get through.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Filipino's Shame

Apart from his blatant plagiarism, Tito Sotto's callous defense toward the allegations have raised the ire of many Filipinos. Indeed, as a citizen of this country and a member of this society, I find myself angry, and above all ashamed, that a man such as he -- so full of hubris and blinded by his lofty position -- has been elected by my fellow man, and by democratic association, myself, in the office he currently holds. Apart from his stance on the RH Bill, which offends me as a woman, he currently maligns my belief as a writer.

In my young years, I don't think I've ever felt as betrayed as I do on this day. The RH Bill debate will soon go, whether it is passed or not, but the remarks and accusations left by Tito Sotto will remain a vibrant cord in our generations thinking and belief. He slanders social media, as if what we do in the cyberworld is so insignificant and irrelevant, because he fails to see that this is currently the most powerful tool of our century. A minute and a button is all it takes to spread the news these days. We stay connected with each other, albeit not in our physical form, but through the tips of our fingers. The word of the people is a powerful thing, Senator. Do not insult the intelligence of your voting nation.

I may not be an elected official, as you so unkindly put it to Leloy Claudio and Miguel Syjuico, but I do believe that my word counts.

I will not insult your previous profession, or what choices you have made in your personal life. I believe that there is a time and place for that. For now, I will insult your ignorance and lack of decorum. Senator, nakakahiya ka.

There has never been, and will never be, a time when I am ashamed to be a Filipino. However, right now, I am ashamed to share my race and my nationality with Tito Sotto.

Photo SOURCE.

The Down & Dirty Dash

Ladies, shall we?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

50 Shades of Sickening

When I first heard that these atrocious books were being turned into films, I literally allowed my jaw to hang in shock, classless as that may be. While I tend to veer away from topics centered on the 50 Shades series, I couldn't help but watch this viral fan made trailer that has found itself 50 times posted on my facebook dashboard. I shiver in disgust.

I seriously can't begin to fathom what kind of twisted person comes up with crap like this, but oh well, I guess to each their own. Some people like to eat their nutella on bread, some like to get beaten up while doing the dirty dirty. Bygones.

And if you're feeling masochistic, as apparently was I, (no pun intended, and not in the way the little protagonist is) there's more on youtube. Honestly, I don't know why I even clicked. I guess resistance is futile with these ubiquitous trailers floating around cyberspace.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I do bidoo

Uhm, a movie musical featuring the songs of Apo Hiking Society? I'll see you in theaters!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Books

If anyone wanted to gift me with a book....

LOL (2012)

Maybe it's because I've seen and loved the hugely popular original French film from which this was remade, and so I found this version of LOL quite bland. Demi Moore, even more beautiful at this age, glows next to Miley Cyrus, who plays her teenage daughter -- which, while possible, shouldn't be the case. What should've been an eye opener for mothers and daughters instead becomes just another angry teenage movie.

An authentic story that perfectly captures coming of age in today's digital world, LOL is a remake of the hugely popular 2008 French film LOL (Laughing Out Loud). Starting a new year of high school, Lola (Miley Cyrus), (or "Lol," as her friends call her), works to find the right balance between family, school, friends and romance. Broken-hearted by her ex, Lol's world is soon turned upside down when she is surprised to find her best friend, Kyle (Douglas Booth), a musician in an up and coming rock band, could possibly be the love of her life. In her quest towards independence, self-identity and young adulthood, Lol discovers that while Facebook "status" is easy to change; true relationships are worth the effort.

Enchanted

How can ANYONE not like this film? Seriously! Since its release, I've watched it once a year as tradition, plus more times when I'm down and out and under the weather, which last week, right before my hectic work week, I found myself to be. Backed by a stellar supporting cast, Amy Adams took a brilliant turn in this iconic breakthrough that will resonate with Disney lovers! That beautiful head of red hair, those big blue doe eyes, and her ability to turn the most ridiculous to most charming is a treat for both the young and the young-at-heart. Riveting, funny, smart, and full of heart, Enchanted flew to the top of my all time favorites list.

Classic Disney animation meets contemporary urban chaos when a frightened princess is banished from her magical animated homeland to modern-day New York City in a romantic comedy penned by Bill Kelly (Blast from the Past), directed by Kevin Lima (Tarzan), and featuring music by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) lives in the blissful cartoon world of Andalasia, where magical beings frolic freely and musical interludes punctuate every interaction. Though Princess Giselle is currently engaged to be married to the handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden), her fate takes a turn for the worse when the villainous Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) banishes her to the unforgiving metropolis of New York City. As the cruelty of the big city soon begins to wear down the fairy-tale exterior of the once-carefree princess, the frightened Giselle soon finds herself falling for a friendly but flawed divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) whose kind compassion helps her to survive in this strange and dangerous new world.

Young People Fucking

I don't even know why I decided to watch this film. Ok, to be truthful, it's because I heard Callum Blue, aka Mr. Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth, from the Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, is in it. I gave it a shot, figured it would maybe be an ok way to kill 2 hours. To say that I have no words would be an exaggeration as I can find it in myself to say that while it did have its funny moments, the experience overall was really quite... normal. It was neither exciting, nor was it completely boring. And, well, no one wants that. In sex (I think) or in films.

Director Martin Gero turns his knowing lens on five different archetypal relationships in a caustic romantic comedy highlighting the amusing similarities and bizarre differences in human relationships. Sexually frustrated blonde Abby (Kristin Booth) is stuck in a domestic rut with her hyper sensitive boyfriend Andrew (Josh Dean); will the pair be able to smooth things out or could it be that their relationship was actually doomed from the very beginning? Yet while folks like Abby and Andrew are currently locked in to relationships, others like longtime friends Matt (Aaron Abrams) and Kristen (Carly Pope) just got out of them. Perhaps a quick round of casual sex between old friends is just the thing to help both friends move beyond their pains of their past. Meanwhile, recently broken-up couple Mia (Sonja Bennett) and Eric (ohn Cooke) are attempting to bury the past by going out on one post-mortem date, and British ladies man is out on his very first date with the pretty, and much younger, Jamie (Diora Baird). But not all relationships are as simple as one man and one woman, because energetic Gord (Ennis Esme), his ill-humored roommate Dave (Peter Oldring), and Gord's beautiful girlfriend Inez (Natalie Lisinska) somehow find their relationship growing increasingly unconventional.

21 Jump Street

It took me way too long to watch this, mainly because I've been finding movies from this genre so boring lately. HOWEVER, I gotta hand it to these 2, they are stomp-your-feet-while-simultaneously-bang-your-fist-on-the-table funny. A bromance film of the tallest order, Channing Tatum's burly man act is the perfect complement to Jonah Hill's geeky persona. And while the acting can, at times, be grating, the consistent hilarity and spot on comedic chemistry of the two is quite rewarding.

In the action-comedy 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier - and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Resilience

Manila, let's rebuild. Let us help our brothers, sisters, friends, and selves. Let us pick ourselves up. Good morning.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In Times Of Need

Please take note of these emergency numbers, and share with everyone!

EMERGENCY NUMBERS:

NDRRMC (Disaster): +6329111406 +6339122665 +6339125668
PNP: 632117 or send TXT PNP to 2920
MMDA: 632136
BUREAU OF FIRE: +6327295166 +6324105624 +6324318859
PAGASA: +6324338526
DOTC: 7890 09188848484
DPWH: +6323043713
RED CROSS: +632143 +6329111876
NLEX: +63235000
SCTEX: +639209672839
SLEX: +6329088807539
SKYWAY: +6327767777

PETA: 817-5292

TWITTER:

HASHTAGS: #ReliefPH (Relief Operations) #RescuePH (Rescue Concerns) and #FloodsPH (Flood News)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Find Out...

"You Find Out Who Your Friends Are"

By DONNA SHUTE
July 11, 2012

Tracy Lawrence perhaps said it best — cheezily but truly — when he noted that in adversity,

You find out who your friends are,
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast,
Never stop and think “What’s in it for me?” or “it’s way too far”
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are.

Or, in the words of a beautiful Steve LaRocque play I worked on a few years ago, “Life is largely a matter of who shows up” — and, as a very important corollary, who doesn’t show up. When everything’s not coming up roses and life does rain on your parade, who’s going to rally to your side instantly? Some of us have many — hopefully all of us have at least a few — of those people.

I look back on the last, oh, quarter-of-a-century, and I think, like Whitman, that I no doubt deserve my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserve my friends. When I think of all the spontaneous embraces and the four a.m. phone calls and the crazy random road trips that have carried me through the worst when times have been colossally crappy, I am overcome with a sense of proper gratitude and circumspection for how fortunate I have been to have such an incredible network of friends. It has never been so abundantly manifest to me as the past year, when I saw friend after friend bolster and buoy me through some very difficult times, selflessly offering their time, money, encouragement, support, and most of all, themselves. When we’re tempted to dwell on the negatives — who in our lives has let us down, who we’re disappointed by, who we feel abandoned by, who we wish was by our side — sometimes it behooves us to remember that for every one who doesn’t stick around, there are a dozen who will. All of us are battered, broken screw-ups in some regard or another, and none of us are ultimately deserving of the love we have so freely been offered over the years, but for some reason unbeknownst to us, a few kind (or crazy) souls will go on offering it anyway. You’re never really alone, even when you most feel like it. So don’t worry about who’s going to show up; the people who are meant to will. Some people will only make a cameo appearance in your life, but the ones who count will be treading the boards with you from the opening number to the grand finale.

Walker Percy once wrote that we love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away — words, indeed, to live by. At my worst, I can be pretty damn icky. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I can be flaky and indecisive. I can be dishonest. I can be a drama queen. I can be impossible to handle. I can (and do) have the emotional lability of a manic-depressive on speed. I’m not always a good friend to myself or others. I have hurt some of the people I love most in the world — especially in recent years. But at the end of the day, the people who love me have forgiven me for my stupidest stunts, weathered through my best attempts to drive them away, and refused to leave my side in spite of my flaws, my shortcomings, my failures. That’s what real friendship looks like. And I have some damn fine friends.

The funniest thing about all of this is that in the fullness of time, we become the person our friends see. We become worthy of care by being cared for. We become worthy of trust by being trusted. We become worthy of love by being loved. Our dearest friends thus become a mirror held up to ourselves, showing us the truth amidst all the distortions. In Russian literature, there’s a concept called the “unfinalizability of the human person,” which basically upholds that the only person you can ever truly know is yourself, and that your own self-perception is the most accurate one. I would dare to challenge that in a court of law; I think our own eyes have prohibitive scales obscuring our vision, and that it’s the vision of those who love us that is the true one. Identity crises become impossible when you recognize that you are loved, that you have a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable spot in the cosmos and in the hearts of those who love you. And when we love and support one another, we plumb through all the bullshit and create a transtemporal symphony of our truest selves.

So, the country canard is right: when the rubber meets the road …you find out who your friends are. Disappointing, sometimes, disillusioning, absolutely. But the ones who matter will stick, no matter what. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, be who you are and say what you feel, because the folks who mind don’t matter, and the folks who matter don’t mind.

Lest we forget.

Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Things...

... I'd tell my teen self.

1. It doesn't get better. Sorry, kid, but everyone lied to you. It doesn't get better, however, you do get stronger. You endure enough of the insults, you withstand enough of the comings and goings, you bear enough of the hardships, and pretty soon, those things will slide off of you like warm butter going down your throat. You won't really be immune to it, not really. Not completely. But it doesn't get you down as much. You don't cry as much as you used to, or hate as hard as you used to. You'll learn to let go of thoughts of revenge and vindication. You'll learn to laugh at other things and you'll be all the better for it. So, my little friend, endure.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Connie & Carla

I first saw Connie & Carla when it came out 8 years ago and I absolutely adored it! Nia Vardalos's and Toni Collette's portrayal as the titular bestfriends are a perfect blend of naive, idealistic, sweet, and sassy. However, their light shined the most when they donned their tranny personas and snapped their tiny, non-man-fingers as the act at a dinner-theater-to-be in Los Angeles. Throw in a few other woah-men plus some David Duchovny and you're sure to find yourself laughing along with the audience of Connie & Carla's ridiculous drag show.

Actress and writer Nia Vardalos, who became an overnight sensation with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, returns to the big screen with this gender-bending comedy. Connie (Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) are best friends who've shared the same dream ever since they were teenagers -- making a name for themselves in the musical theater. However, after years of treading water on Chicago's dinner theater circuit and playing bottom-of-the-barrel nightclubs, the two are facing middle age with minimal career success. One evening after a performance, Connie and Carla have the misfortune of witnessing the murder of nightclub owner Frank (Michael Roberds) by low-level Mafiosi; the gals are seen by the shooters, and they hit the road in fear for their lives. Connie and Carla end up in Los Angeles, where they struggle to create new identities for themselves. After witnessing a drag review at a nightclub, they realize that even they have more talent than most of the men performing that evening, and they decide to pose as female impersonators in hopes of landing a gig. Connie and Carla's new act is an immediate hit, and soon they're the toast of L.A.'s gay community. But the women discover it's difficult to keep on fooling people into believing they're men, and things become even more complicated when the Mobsters discover that Connie and Carla are in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Connie finds herself falling for Jeff (David Duchovny), a regular guy looking for his cross-dressing brother who can't understand why he's developing a crush on a drag queen.

Prom

Disney's Prom. Where to begin? Disney's Prom gives you exactly what you expect it to: a flat story, some cheesy lines, but for a few minutes, some cotton candy enjoyment. It is something to watch when you have nothing to watch at all. Without the charm of Disney's earlier stuff, plus the lackluster cast, the only true reason to watch it is boredom. And even then, you'll still get a little bored. But oh, this one has a surprisingly good soundtrack!

At "Prom," every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches; "Prom" portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it's a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Fellow seniors Mei (Yin Chang) and Tyler (De'Vaughn Nixon) harbor secrets, while others face all the insecurity and anticipation that surrounds one of high school's most seminal events. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there's only one "Prom."

The Dark Knight Rises

There is little to say about Christopher Nolan's final installment in his Dark Knight Trilogy that hasn't already been said. Combined with Nolan's visual genius is a stunning cast and a heart-stopping screenplay that will resonate in the hearts of Batman and DC fans the world over. It will create a new army of comic book geeks that'll keep the spirit of the Dark Knight alive, and carry it with them for a long time. The epic conclusion indeed.

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane..

Magic Mike

Let me begin by saying that by no stretch of the imagination did I go in to watch Magic Mike expecting a bevy of emotions to paralyze and transfix me. Lo and behold, I was correct. While not horrible, I found that this film just about balances the objectifying female gaze (meaning yes, we do enjoy watching these men) and comedy. So, to me, it is just like any other chick-flick that Hollywood has thrown at us. No one's performance was exemplary, but I did find some rather useless characters -- Olivia Munn's character Cody Horn's character.

Set in the world of male strippers, Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money.