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Archive for February, 2011

Last weekend saw me and James lying on our bed, the television and DVD player on, watching Conviction starring Hilary Swank and Minnie Driver. Conviction is a film based on a true story of Betty Ann Waters and her brother, about a brother and a sister who literally depended on each other while growing up. The older brother, played by Sam Rockwell, was wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. Placed in an age where DNA testing was but an object of science movies and money is much more important than integrity in hiring the best lawyers, Kenny was convicted much to Betty Ann’s disbelief.

Instead of taking and biting into reality, Betty Ann struggled through life, through divorce, through possible custody loss of her two sons, just not to give up on Kenny, her brother.

It was a beautiful, inspiring film, which I am sure will not be a big hit in the theatres but a sure-fire wonder in everyone’s hearts.

This film made me think, if I were in Betty Ann’s place, would I also do the same for my sister or my brother?

Being the youngest in a brood of three, the only illegitimate son of my mom and dad, I was supposed to be the outcast, the weakest, the dumbest. But I did not have the luxury to be so. Knowing my status in our family (something I only knew upon reading my birth certificate) and in society, I struggled to ensure that my name, through education, would be respected. Would be feared. Would be held in high esteem. Because I fear no one would be there to save me when I fail.

But I know my sister would be there. Countless times she saved me from trouble when we were much younger. Boys bullying me in school stopped due to fear of her. One bully hit me in the eye and my sister was quick enough to hit him back several times he regretted ever meeting me! My brother, with whom I keep a relationship no warmer than the Arctic region saved me, too, by helping me out with my art projects in school.

But I know help only comes once, another one is already sustenance. And I am too proud to ask for help. Because I fear rejection. I fear being turned down. So I evolved into this independent person who can answer all questions, who can pay all the bills, who can take care of everyone, but himself.

When faced with the question if I would go to such extent to help my sister or my brother? The independent person in me says no, they should be able to stand up to the consequences of their own actions.

Yet I know the deeper truth – yes, for whatever happens, a sister is a sister, and a brother a brother. A lot, including my father, may have turned their backs on me, but a lot more has opened their hearts and lives to embrace me and I owe what I have right now to them.

I owe it to my sister. I owe it to my brother.

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Have I ever told you that I’m willing to sacrifice my articulacy in exchange for a good singing voice? Or for a graceful dancing talent. I think I can always learn how to speak well, but the gifts of singing and dancing are only given to a small group of people.

Last week, my thirst for some artistic talents was worsened after seeing Cher and Christina’s Burlesque at the Greenbelt 3 cinema. I am following Christina on Twitter (yes, I like her more than Britney) and it was there that I learned of this project of hers. Collaboration between a pop star and a legend (or something much older than a legend!) was definitely something to watch out for!

The movie’s plot, however, was something that has seen better days (especially when it was first used). Burlesque is a story of a country girl who went to the city with very few belongings to test her luck. After landing a waitress’ job in a cabaret owned by Cher, she immediately dreamed of becoming one of the dancers of the club. She auditioned and begged and auditioned and begged Cher to see what she could do. Fast forward, Christina got the part, was able to find true love, and was able to help Cher save the club through the concept of air rights.

But girl, mind you, the movie had shown what most ‘ladlad’ gays would be coveting and showing off on their next pageants and what discreet and closeted gays would be keeping in their closets only to be taken out and worn during the blue corn moon! The beads, the stones, the feathers, the corsets, the tights! Oooohhh! I needed to close my eyes for three seconds for a number of times for the lights and colors were just too much! Which, of course, were what definitely made me love this movie.

So stripping myself of the ostrich feathers, I put on my tutu skirt and did my arabesque to the cinema to see Natalie Portman’s Black Swan. The title itself gives me an idea that this movie would show the side of the often misunderstood mind of a villain. A dissection on what made someone so crazy for power, for love, for fame, that he or she ultimately falls prey to the very things adored.

Well, the movie gave another reason why there are villains (and heroes) in just one person – mental illness. The movie has shown the most bizarre, intriguing, disturbing side of ballet, an art form often regarded as something that can only be appreciated by the old rich. Natalie’s portrayal of both the white and black swans was outstanding! I hope she gets an Oscar nod for it!

The movie should not be seen by someone who is already stressed at work, or someone who cannot sleep at night thinking someone is watching by the window with a big acacia tree outside, or someone who has full paraphernalia for the execution manicure and pedicure. Instead, it should be seen by someone who just recently came from a very happy, funny meeting, or someone who wants to justify their bulimia, or someone who cuts their nails in public places.

Seriously, this movie is not a date movie (though James and I watched it during Valentine’s) but something that should not only be seen but felt.

After watching these two ‘artsy’ films, I danced and sang myself back to the office to do some work and spread my wings for everyone to see the Scarlet Peacock that I am!

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Life never fails to surprise us!

For a span of three days, James and I watched three movies that made us laugh, cry and fear for our lives – or limbs, for that matter!

The first on the list was James Franco’s 127Hours – a story of an adventurer who thought he knows everything he needs to know to spend a weekend in Utah’s rocky desert without even telling anyone where he has gone to. Well, in fact he knows a lot about the place, but one thing he did not know, and did not expect, was that that weekend would change his life forever – by falling in a narrow ravine with his arm trapped under a boulder. With only a bottle of water in scorching Utah desert, he stayed alive and sane until he mustered all his guts to let go of something in order for the rest to live.

A story telling us there is nothing stronger than the will to survive – one test I would not dare be put into.

Second movie on the row was Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway’s Love and Other Drugs. Catching the movie after running from Greenbelt 3 to Glorietta 4 in less than 15 minutes to spare, the first half of the movie made me feel if it was worth the run as all I saw were Anne’s breasts and Jake’s behind and all I heard was our seatmate’s guffaws for every single line Jake said which made me doubt if I can really understand English or not! But lo and behold, the movie went into a sudden deep dive, allowing the audience to re-visit their faith in their love amidst health challenges. The movie tackled an age-old vow to love in sickness and in health. While our seatmate suddenly stopped laughing, our hearts started smiling.

The last was the animated film Tangled starring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. It was a different story of Rapunzel, the beautiful girl trapped in a tower who grew hair so long Pantene and other brands would kill to show in their commercials! I remember reading Gregory Maguire’s Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister which tells the story of Cinderella’s sister which gave the old classic a new perspective and a new life. Tangled, is in a sense, a modern take on the classic Rapunzel but what set it apart from the rest was that the antagonist – the old lady who kept Rapunzel in the tower – was not as evil as most villains. She kept her in the tower but in it were food, warm bed, artists’ materials such as paints and brushes for Rapunzel to nurture her love for the arts. She even would go as far as going on a three-day travel just to give Rapunzel her birthday wish. But the lady was, in herself, imprisoned by her need to stay young. Modern-day parents, in themselves, are imprisoned by their fear that someone, something, would hurt their children. Both ending up imprisoning the ones they love.

If you agree with me that life never fails to surprise us, then how come I am still surprised most of the times?

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