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Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Suck me, punch me!

 I thought the movie was gay. Don’t blame me, blame the title! The first word sends a clear picture to any gay man, at least, it was a very vivid picture for me!

But I was happily disappointed. Sucker Punch is one hell of a movie! James and I saw it at Galleria before attending mass in the evening.

Sucker Punch is set in the ‘50s with young Baby Doll as the lead character. The eldest daughter of a rich woman who passed away, she inherited, together with her only sister, the fortune of their mother which is being covetously targeted by their father. One night, her father was supposed to rape her but she fought hard and so her father turned to her younger sister. Escaping through the window, she managed to get a gun and to get to her sister’s room. She fired but it was her sister who took the bullet after hitting the light bulb. Her father sent her to a sanitarium, bribing the orderly to ‘take care’ of her so she would not be a bother to him anymore.

In the sanitarium, she met four other girls who went to plan their escape with her. While doing so, she went into a trance – sanitarium was transformed into a prostitution den with the orderly as the big boss, all girls are prostitutes, the head psychiatrist as the dance instructor. She were asked to dance, as a  weapon for her survival, then she went into another trance, one that involves a man who told her to gather a map, fire, knife and key and one more secret thing, five things which would help her and her friends escape.

They were able to gather all four and the fifth secret thing was indeed a surprise.

Sucker Punch shows girls set in the 50s with costumes as if taken out of anime parties. It was a bit discomforting to see her in her school uniform as if I am one very old, rich but sexually aroused man who enjoys doing it with girls in uniforms. I was excited to see how she really danced that made all those who’s watching her forget everything else. But until the end, you can only see her moving her torso from left to right, as if mimicking Sheryl Cruz singing Mr Dreamboy in That’s Entertainment!

Although the movie would not get an Academy nod, it sets itself different from the movies in a sense that it was a combination of several – Street Fighter for the moves, Inception for the several layers of trance, Black Swan for the dance studio, Burlesque for the cabaret performances, definitely so Watchmen for the settings and costumes (for the two movies have the same director). It is a movie worth remembering and talking about albeit for a week only.

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Of the seven intelligences, no doubt I excel in linguistics. Speaking in public, articulating my points of view, inspiring the team to do better, these are just walks in the park. I appreciate this gift (although sometimes I swear I want to exchange my English fluency for a good singing voice) more so when I remember that there are those who are not good at it.

King George VI had trouble speaking in public and was known to stammer especially in front of a crowd. The King’s Speech, the Academy-award winning movie about the royal who swallowed his own pride to take on a job meant for his older brother, that is, to be the King of all the British Empire. Starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter (I promise you, Helena would surprise you because she looked decent in the movie – I was silently waiting for her to brandish her wand!), the movie showed how difficult it was for monarchs to have the disability when the very empire is built on articulate leaders who can rouse a whole nation to war.

The King’s Speech is an inspiring movie telling us that no one is too great to learn, that no one is too rich to admit one’s insecurity for by doing so one can only true overcome it.

The English countryside gave way to dark forests, deep ravines and snow-capped mountains. Red Hiding Hood is a fantastic twist to the toddler tale of a vicious wolf pretending to be a grandmother. I almost thought the movie was an adaptation of Jerry Maguire’s books, who has written magnificent re-telling of classics such as Cinderella (The Tale of the Ugly Stepsister – one which I’ve read and loved) and Snow White (Mirror, Mirror – one that I’ve bought while waiting for James at Greenbelt’s Powerbooks before we went to watch Red Riding Hood). Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight – no wonder you’ll see lots of pine trees again) and starring Amanda Seyfried and Lukas Haas, the movie blends children fiction with adult fiction. A werewolf stalks the forest and is one of the villagers during day. The quest to find out who that is leads to suspicions amongst families and friends. I like the movie for I was not able to guess who the werewolf was and I kept guessing until the end.

Just remember not to wear red if you plan to see the movie!

Then forests and hills once again in Season of the Witch starring Nicolas Cage. I did not think much of this movie and I thought it can serve as a lullaby as I convince my mind to sleep. The movie was set in medieval Europe during the Holy Wars when witchcraft and witch-hunting were the pastimes of the people. Like in modern times, they usually persecute the innocent and allow the guilty the free roam. However, they struck gold with the hanging of a real witch (or so we thought) that brought pestilence to the land. Now, Cage’s group has to travel through dark forests (good thing illegal loggers had not been there yet) and rickety bridge to the monastery to have another accused witch presented to the monks for further action.

The monastery was not what they expected, and so was the girl they thought was a witch.

The movie is indeed a lullaby, not much of brainpower to use, thought it can amuse you with shots of wounds, dirty streets, smelly-looking men and thick coniferous forests, just remember to close the curtains and pray before you sleep!

There are lots of movies I want to watch – but the Lucas and Titan Men titles I’ve recently bought has been kept in the corner for too long. Let me watch them, though I may not be able to tell you anything about them on this blog for Stepfordboy is one nice boy – by day! 

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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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MR : Splice

Gee, waiting for Fridays is difficult! I’ve announced before for the new format of Stepfordboy that MRs would be done on Fridays but the hard part is waiting since I’ve watched today’s movie for review last weekend so there was this long wait.

Anyway, last weekend, I happen to be in the right place at the right time in possession of a not-so-right thing and I had the chance to watch Splice in DVD.

Splice is another movie about cloning and mutation and its effects on humanity. I only saw its trailer once in the cinema and I was a little curious about the film.

First, although the movie’s plot has been done so many times before, the creature this time does not seem so threatening unlike those about human-flies and human-snakes. The creature, they named Dren, is almost human-like except for its avian toes and reptilian tale. In fact, later on in Dren’s life, she (later on a he) would pass for a human as long as you hide the feet and tail!

The movie is about two scientists creating mutants for a kind of protein that can cure the world’s most dreaded diseases. They successfully created two worm-like creatures, a male and female, who were attracted at first with each other thus giving a possibility for mating and reproducing, a criteria that has to be met for a creature to be considered a species and not a mutant.

NB : Mutants cannot reproduce another creature exactly like itself. Example : Liger (cross between a tiger and a lion).

Elsa, the female scientist, who was portrayed by Sarah Polley, wanted to have children of her own so she was very excited in creating a cross between several animals and a human. She and Clive, played by Adrien Brody, set up the lab and created Dren, played by Delphine Chaneac. Clive wanted to dispose Dren as soon as she was born but Elsa saw her as her daughter and they both fought the odds to raise her up.

The two-worm like creatures were soon showed to the public as the source of the new wonder drug but instantly killed each other for the female creature evolved into a male! This kind of a bit ruined the plot for obviously Dren would later on change gender. And I was correct.

Dren, having the hormones of first a female, was attracted to Clive, and then later on of a male, and was attracted to Elsa. Fast forward to the ending, after forcefully making love with both of them, Clive and Elsa had no choice but to end Dren’s life as it threatened theirs.

I like the story for its nicer physical depiction of a mutant and for its moral : leave creation to Mother Nature. There’s a gazillion opportunities for animals to make love and cross breed for millennia even before we humans appeared on earth and Mother Nature has a pretty strong reason why these mutants never get pass their adult lives. What I didn’t like about the movie is its passé plot – don’t create something you know you’re heartless enough to dispose of later on.

Although I would not see this movie in Greenbelt where I would have to pay so much for tickets and so much for dinner and so much for my Red Mango yogurt with four fruit toppings, I would like a lot of people to see this, especially those who stupidly try to cross breed dogs and cats for money or for fun. They’re stupid so another movie of the same moral is needed for reinforcement learning for a couple of decades is only way for them to learn!

Some creatures are not meant to be created. It’s the hard truth. It’s the truth we should not forget in trying to solve life’s greatest mysteries.

Splice, directed by Vincenzo Natal, will be shown in local theatres soon.

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I had been very fond of M. Night Shyamalan (Manoj Nelliyatu Shyamalan in real life) and his movies until The Last Airbender. Sixth Sense was his first movie that I got to watch and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Next was The Signs and after that I was very afraid of looking at a turned-off TV screen! I was still in college when I saw The Village and it was so scary but what was disturbing was the community’s way of life in the middle of a nature reserve. Then there was The Lady in the Water which I think somewhat resembles M. Night’s directing style in The Last Airbender. Then I saw The Happening and though I thought it was not as good as its predecessor movies, I liked it because its story was unique. Who could’ve thought that plants can take revenge at such a large scale? But TLA is the biggest disappointing movie of 2010 for me, so far.

Primarily, the actors’ acting skills were misplaced. The casting crew should’ve thought better than to cast Dev Patel as Prince Zuko. Was he inducted in that character solely based on looks because the firebenders look as if they are of Indian-Arabic descent? This is another facet I did not like because again, it has a subliminal message to the young. Nicola Peltz’s Katara was superbly…OA! Noah Ringer’s Aang showed a face that was trying its best to imitate the fluid movements of the cartoon character. Yes, yes, the material was based on cartoons but the main audience of the movie were young adults and professionals who are looking for a bit more mature rendition of the Nick’s series.

Aslo, the guards had poker faces! As in I felt Lady Gaga would soon come out (and her costumes would really fit the movie!) and sit her well-loved song! It was as if watching one poorly made Pinoy action movie where the policemen were placed on the scene solely for the purpose of delivering a line or two without any minute effort to act it out.

Worse, the action scenes were so poorly choreographed you can see how the actors stopped and waited for the other actors to start throwing them around! I thought the effects would be enough to mask the otherwise dismal acting but it was not enough!

I have heard very poor reviews of the movie but just the same I wanted to see it for myself. For P170 ticket at Greenbelt 3, good thing I did not choose to watch it in the P300 3D theatre. That would surely hurt.

To M. Night, I really love your work. Everyone goes through a stage when you do your poorest performance (that was usually on my second grading period) but I hope you can put your acts together and give us something worth trooping back to the cinemas.

TLA only showed the First Book : Water. There are other books I suppose. Would the series get better like The Twilight Saga or would the project just be shelved like the others?

Well, TLA’s done with. Now excited to see Salt. Anyone up for a movie trip?

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