Saturday, January 31, 2009


Strangest birthday I think. Last Friday, I caught a last full show screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The story of a man who grows young as he grows old. The film, as you may know, is almost three hours long, so when the clock struck 12 and I became 25 I was still there inside the dark room with strangers. The only thing that was inside my stomach the whole time that night was popcorn and an orange juice. Though I wasn't hungry, I stopped by a semi-Chinese food chain in front of our office building and ate siomai before going home. Punctuating my midnight meal was the whir of the aircon and the chatter of the food attendants and cashier. The parking lot was empty and I can hear the faint noise of a man belting out from the nearby piano bar. A sense of eerieness befell me.

The next day I lost 1 thousand pesos. Cleaning my drawer I found it stuck between two ties. I put it inside my wallet. I went out for the thermal therapy which I have been doing for about three weeks. I bought a book and went home. When I counted my money, the 1 thousand was gone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I had a chat with Anne Hathaway.

With the shock, surprise, disappointment, or the entire opposite of all three, of whatever it is that has been caused by the recent Oscar nominations announcement, way past everybody now (or at least to those who give a shit about it), with looking forward or not as the only thing that has been left to do, here's a piece from Newsweek which I thoroughly enjoyed. It came in late though with the noms already out.

Been following the Newsweek's Oscar Roundtable for three years, and I've gotta say this was much more fun and loose and informal. And fun. They changed the entire mechanics this year and I love the cameras hovering outside the circle. I love how the actors get to talk and ask each other a lot. Their questions and the depth of their answers really speak a lot about their dedication to their craft and all that talk of creative process somehow speaks of the level of artistry and appreciation. Tell it to our actors, uh, stars, here and see if we score a grain of salt.

This year's line-up: Mickey Rourke, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella, Sally Hawkins, Anne Hathaway and Robert Downey Jr.

Also, here are video clips of interviews of critics David Denby from The New Yorker and A.O. Scott of The New York Times and their thoughts on the nominations.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I told myself not to be surprised and I think I've gotten a little over that, but I don't think I will ever get to tell myself to stop getting pissed. Following the Oscars for a few years, I have to remind myself that these are stuck-up, sore (old?) people who will vote who and what they want.

This year, despite acknowledging small triumphant wins (Hunt, Leo, Shannon and Jenkins and In Bruges), they really sucked big time when they refused to let The Dark Knight score a best picture nod. And by omitting Chris Nolan in the directors list, it was already double jeopardy. It really stinks, especially if you feel really strongly about the film. As Awards Daily guru, Sasha Stone puts it, despite how great it was, it was still about a batboy. And that sucks.

Further, Sally Hawkins, who I think delivered one of the best, most sincere and most unforgettable performances of the year in Happy Go Lucky, and who clinched a lot of Critics group accolades, got booted out. Bruce Springsteen, who wrote one of the best songs for a motion picture, for The Wrestler, which I think sorely missed out also, was snubbed. AD really got it in the gut: the trick is not minding. Here is the list of 2009 Oscar nominations.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

so long, redneck.

I like this photo. Obama's wax figure was inaugurated days before his official swearing in Washington D.C. at Madame Tussaud's museum in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, a transcript (with video) of Obama's inaugural speech via NYTimes. Let's digress a little shall we, but, still in keeping with the fever, here are hot and fresh news bits, straight from the pan, from America's Finest News Source, The Onion: incessant jackhammering ruining Obama's speech, a probable hidden gripe from a former Democratic contender, and Bush dying from his sleep.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fangs, adaptations etc.

Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian is exasperatingly long. A month for all the 700 plus pages of a cross between The Da Vinci Code and some other vampire novel, because frankly I can't remember reading a vampire novel. Yes, even Bram Stoker's Dracula or any Anne Rice even. When vampires are brought to discussion, there's always this pervasive image of a young Kirsten Dunst pronouncing her bloodthirst ("I want some more") and her slashing of poor Lestat's throat.

The Historian has its own twists and that surge brought by the familiar search for something larger-than-life, like Dan Brown's infamous novel, but it feels more scholarly, maybe because of Kostova's background at Yale or something - even the two lead characters are academicians. You feel like reading a lengthy research paper on Vlad Dracula, who by the way, is a real medieval ruler famous for impaling people. The book is not gory though despite the notoriety of its subject matter focusing more on the search which can become tiresome at parts. The characters globe-trot to ancient European cities and Istanbul, an ingredient which could likely make film producers consider adapting it into the big screen.

Speaking of adaptations, David Fincher's visually dazzling The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, would likely go down as one of the memorable last year. I like it that this is unlike anything he's done before though it matched Zodiac's length of almost three hours. The story of course you know is based from an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, but actually, borrowing more of its premise than what actually happens in the story. I've been looking for Richard Yates' 1950s novel Revolutionary Road now that I saw Sam Mendes' version. So if anybody of you have it, I really need to read it.

Last weekend, the 20-peso booksale was back in one of the malls here. I saw Stanislaw Lem's science-fiction novel Solaris, the basis of both films of the same title by Andrei Tarkovsky and Steven Soderbergh. I saw the Russian film by Tarkovsky but not yet Soderbergh's. Also, there was Gordon (?) Williams' The Siege of Trenchers Farm which was made into a great film by Sam Peckinpah called Straw Dogs and starred a young Dustin Hoffman.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Madness, Inc.

Much is being fussed over the Alabang boys case that it has now ballooned into a media frenzy with issues zigzagging here and there you feel like you're on a trip to the mountains. The only missing puzzle piece is for some opportunist to make a movie out of this, or to make it more cutesy-cutesy, spoofed by the adorable kids of Going Bulilit.

It didn't expose any social malaise, whatever the fuck you call it, because c'mon, drugs -- okay, illegit drugs -- have been snorted by kids (and I say this referring to being stuck in an adolescent nature despite age) in the 60s. Pot sessions have been conducted wherever and depressed and trouble teens have been coking themselves to kingdom come. It just that nobody really gets caught, and when there are, just little fishes in the pond. Sharks are still out there sniffing out blood. But what it does really expose though are people like Sotto who is such a laughing stock when explaining what an anti-drug czar does. When you're watching the press conference
, and you think this is the guy also topbilling Iskul Bukol, you can just shake your head with such madness.

Speaking of insanity, I can't believe that Mad Men, is one of those goddamn great shows that nobody is watching, if my colleague is right in quoting an article she read. Of course that's an exaggeration, but I can't really blame the non-lovers or even haters if there are. Because Mad Men is just it. It's so goddamn mad brilliant you can't believe it's unfolding in your eyes. The womanizing, the chauvinistic banter, the endless swirling smokes, the punchlines delivered like pitches. It's stylish and intelligently written it's delicious. If you think a period film is tough, think about making a period series. Written and produced by the team that brought you The Sopranos, allow me with the cliche, but it's unlike anything you've seen. Ok, that sounded really awfully cliche. Matthew Weiner, you are the Mafia boss.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Moo-re booze

What, was it like three years since graduation and my chica classmates look so hot? There's the Mutya mom who four months ago gave birth to her firstborn and no ounce of fat anywhere, the Miss Ponds and Bea-Alonzo look alike who seemed to me added little bulk but was nonetheless pretty and the erstwhile experimental lesbian who manages to look like someone from a cover of Vogue. I know I've violated my vow not to attend reunions but nevertheless, after constant prodding from another classmate, it was my text that would make everybody remember and actually go. Jeez, guys, been three years, might as well pass the organizing scepter to someone else. Gosh, we look and sound so friggin' naive back then and look at us now talking about serious shit, work, sex, blowjobs, cunnilunguses, more work, more sex, more booze, our pet projects, documentaries, acting stints, marriages, failed relationships, giving birth, losing weight, gaining weight, the hilarity of it all. 'Twas great to see you guys, and I guess see you next time, when we already know what to do and where to go after being spent and wasted.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Feck yeah. Who would've thought, of all people, I'd outlast the tambays and tricycle drivers in our area for what will seem to be an annual new year boozefest and shameless videoke numbers. Gosh, I feel like I'm slowly becoming a voracious social drinker, if there ever is such a term. I mean some people drink daily -- a bottle of beer or two -- which is healthy I guess, and some drink perhaps every week when they go parties or bars and be tipsy and all that, but I drink only on occasion and gulp down a fucking barrel of various liquor. Is there some kind of a social alcoholism disorder shit? It makes me think of the "I have a drinking problem?" scene of the great John Malkovich in Burn After Reading. But what the hell, it was a great welcome. People went out and trooped to the streets, made noises, tricycle drivers, bicyclists, and drunkards dragging pieces of torn GI sheets, kids running amok while coins are being thrown in every direction. I am actually sensing a great vibe but much of it is uncertainty and anxiety, again, which is I think pretty normal. Shit, I really should start enjoying my friggin life, I need to plan some major changes, like really. Whatever the fuck that is.

One stupid question though, can the ox be considered a variation of a cow? And I guess yeah, Happy New Year to you, too.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting