Tuesday, December 30, 2008

License to Wed (2007)

It’s funny (or maybe not) that in driver’s license there is a mandatory age before you can apply, but sometimes in marriage people seem to have the idea that there is an age when you should apply regardless of anything else.

In License to Wed, comedy’s energizer bunny Robin William stars as Reverent Frank a highly unorthodox pastor of St. Augustine. Believing that desire (and majority age of course) does not close the deal for having a great marriage he holds what is in effect a stress test masked as a wedding seminar for couples wishing to use his church for the ceremony. His target, at least for the duration of the film, Ben Murphy (played by John Krasinski) and Sadie Jones (played by Mandy Moore).

Notting Hill (1999)

As vacations would often do around the world plus having budgetary constraints and struggling for company, I reached deep into my DVD collection (both the legal and illegal) for entertainment. Hidden deep among my stash, among the originals in fact, is Notting Hill. That movie is a rarity considering that among the handful of originals that I have it’s the only romance flick. . . so far.

The central theme of the film is perhaps the Holy Grail in the area of love; two different people, polar opposites, falling head over heals over one another. Hugh Grant plays the bottom half of that pole as William Thacker, a travel book shopkeeper while playing the prestigious top end of the pole is Julia Roberts as a world famous actress in Anna Scott.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Eagle Eye (2008)

In some ways Eagle Eye is a souped up version of The Net but with a little something extra. Love or hate the movie depends on how you swallow that extra.

Transformers star Shia LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw a young man who unfortunately happens to have more money than he had actually deposited plus he now has an apartment he doesn’t have a spot to lie in since it’s full of explosives. To make matters worse, the FBI is on his tail just as he was barely coming to grips with money and crime he didn’t commit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quantum of Solace (2008)

The first thing that came to mind was bad cinematography or bad editing. There was just something unappealing to it, I don’t know how to describe it; maybe in the framing, the pace or choice of shots.Something’s just off.

For the fans who are not up to date it may be necessary somewhat to refresh from the preceding movie just to be in sync with James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) state of mind.Quantum of Solace started off in a sprint, a car chase in fact seemingly just minutes after Casino Royale.Remember the man that he shot ending Casino, the one supposedly in the shadows, holding the strings; for this movie there seems to be an entire organization in the shadows, and its name is Quantum.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Erap for 2010?

Erap’s logic escapes me in his recent statement implying a run for the presidency, again, this time in 2010. The candidacy, the former president said, hinges on the ability or inability of the opposition candidates to unite. He will declare in late 2009 if the opposition remains disunited and go forth with his magic solution of having his name again in the ballot for presidency.

It is entirely possible that the former president and actor did not do well in math during his school days. In fractions, the larger the denominator does not mean a larger piece, so how can his running be a solution when all other presidential hopefuls remain on the table.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

The day the earth stood still for me when I watched the movie of the same name. It was as if I watched a movie from the ancient past never mind the new effects brought in.Granted that I never saw the original, a sci-fi classic from 1951, this 2008 Keanu version was predictable enough in the first 10 minutes.

Traitor (2008)


To betray is to go against what is expected with the greatest of malice. It’s a stab in the back, not a pleasant surprise. He who betrays is the traitor.

For the film of the same name – Traitor – it was obvious from the title alone that someone will go against someone; there will be betrayals. Set in the age of the war against terror there are many sides to this film: the Americans, the Arabs, the terrorists, and the ideology.  The trick in this movie is to find out who betrays who, but most importantly who survives.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

24: The Redemption (Fox) (2008)

24: The Redemption is a transition piece that should act as a bridge for season 6 and season 7.

Unfortunately the fact that it was shown in the same real time narrative as the series removed all chance of this piece being a stand alone film. Two hours in real time is just too short to establish deep plots and great action.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Timex Ironman

I don’t remember how many times over the years I have changed batteries for all my watches. But something tells me that getting 3 years before a change would be a lot. My Timex Ironman lasted 7 years.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wanted (2008)

I thought at once the curving bullet was a deal breaker for me. Why should it curve even if you fire a pistol as a pitcher would throw a baseball? So it was then I decided not to watch Wanted in the theaters.

I turned back on my decision because of the lack of anything to watch. There weren’t many A-list films in the offing and I was getting tired of trying out new TV series to enjoy. Surprisingly the film had more meat than I expected.

Gettysburg (1993)

I think of Gettysburg, a made for TV movie, as the things learned from ROTC during its heyday. Why keep soldiers in neat formation in an era of muskets and cannons? The result was more than 50,000 Americans dead, making the Battle of Gettysburg the bloodiest in the American Civil War. This was 1863 and it would be two more years before the war was over.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thirteen Days (2000)

It is unclear to me if the film Thirteen Days got any inspiration at all from the book of the same name written by one of the principals, Robert F. Kennedy. But then the scriptwriters of the film have the next best thing because they in fact included the authors of The Kennedy Tapes - Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Thirteen Days is a political thriller of a real life event, the Cuban Missile Crisis which happened in 1962. The title was derived from the time span of the crisis, from the discovery of the missiles in Cuba to its disarmament. Just to give the short version the Soviet Union placed nuclear weapons in Cuba; the Americans found out and didn’t like missiles so close to Florida; and suffice to say a nuclear hell almost literally broke lose.

How high is your electric...meter?

This high?

Max Payne (2008)

Max Payne is a video game inspired movie (so I read) about a cop grappling with personal ghosts prowling the streets at night in search of the murderers of his wife. On the onset it really sounded and looked like many a cop movie I have seen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Body of Lies (2008)

Even now I cannot explain the title – Body of Lies. Maybe it refers to the nature of espionage and the web of lies inherent to it. But by the film’s end, lies were the last thing on my mind. I got more ideas mideast politics and social mores, along with America’s lack of understanding. While everybody lies in the film ironically it was not presented in a deceitful sense.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Tudors (2007-2010)

Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England, was a beauty. Her life as seen through the eyes of her even more popular husband, King Henry VIII is the centerpiece in The Tudors the latest Hollywood attempt to bring to life one of the most well known couples in history. Helen of Troy may have launched a thousand ships, but Anne was the catalyst that eventually brought down the monopoly of the Catholic Church already softened by a rising Martin Luther.

This drama series, produced by Showtime, is not a love story as implied by having husband and wife as characters but it is in fact a political story wrapped in the pretense of love.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
I remember hearing it in the 3 p.m. prayers. It is used so often that it is fair to say that this is the closest thing Christianity has to an opening spiel.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Danger Zone

I guess this would fall as one of your ‘dodge the bullet’ type of situations.

Whenever I go to Cubao from my office at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) I usually take the LRT at Recto station. If I am fortunate enough to catch an officemate with a car, then, I will ask to be dropped off just in front of Legarda station, where the officemate can either go back to the office or go straight to Quezon City. However, if I can’t find a car I’ll commute via the Pasig-Quiapo jeep going to LRT’s Recto Station.
Sattelite Shot
Observe the sky-shot of DBM (building marked B), the street corner is a weird shaped intersection, looks like a melted cross. The building marked A is an apartment where all those who wait for Pasig-Quiapo usually stand and catch the jeep before it turns right – its last turn before reaching Quiapo. And like everyone else that is where I waited around 5-5:30 pm on September 3rd.

As had been my usual I lined myself up at in front of the traffic as much as possible so that when the traffic stops I’ll have ample time to study if I actually fit in any of the incoming jeeps. I never liked having just one ass cheek sitting you see especially with so weak a lower body strength.

I had my eye on one, about four cars back; a great enough distance to observe it if it was packed or not. But before it got close to me (I actually wanted to ride it by then) to my surprise the lady in the front fell out of the jeep, almost face first. My mind raced for answers: boyfriend trouble, smelly passenger or a drunken passenger (either her or someone near her); slip, even attempted rape. It wasn’t long that I was soon dazed observing the puzzle unfold before my eyes as other passengers follow suit, through the window, door – so I was thinking mechanical trouble, maybe a bomb.

Failing to appreciate the situation and remaining relatively untouched from where I stood I watched on, passively. Soon with almost all of the passengers out scattering in all directions the insides of the jeep was clearer, there was a noticeable scuffle; how many I could not count. The answer was soon revealed because by this time passengers who got out at this time were already shouting hold-up.

Perhaps noticing the commotion they were causing, and also the lack of available victims, the two assailants got out of the jeep. Looking around realizing the attention was already too much (traffic was packed by now the jeep just stopped, plus the people at the store in the apartment) they ran away.

Thankfully no one was hurt in this incident but it did give me a front seat view of what the place’s reputation was all about.

DBM and surrounding streets

That stretch of road (Arlegui to Palanca and General Solano), that general area, has its reputation of hold-ups and riots (I saw remnants of one in Palanca one late night: shattered glasses and rocks in the street), as well as being an area of dormitories, students, government buildings, and a wide array of colleges and universities. It’s not anarchy mind you so you can relax a little. Just keep in mind that if you do come by this area to just keep your eyes open and relax. Everyplace has its dangers.

Thankfully, I am still not part of that crime statistic unfortunately some DBM employees are. But the sad thing is, more of an annoyance in fact, is that because of the reputation of the place, taxi drivers often think of me as a potential criminal. I have experienced being passed over by passenger-less taxis a number of times during late nights at the office.

Anyway, I wish a safe travel for everyone. Be mindful of danger zones wherever you travel.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fish at LRT Central

"Manang pabili ng buntot!"
"Manang pabili ng buntot!"

Compare the fork of Mr. Art (middle) to the serving...its really generous; guaranteed to give a fulfilling lunch.Compare the fork of Mr. Art (middle) to the serving...its really generous; guaranteed to give a fulfilling lunch.

Fulfilling indeed!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Couple's Choice

“What god has put together let no man put asunder”.
Every priest knows that. You hear a lot of this phrase whenever the topic of marriage comes up especially on the question of ending it – meaning divorce.

Children's Choice

Holy Mother Church: that’s how Catholics call the organization sometimes, never minding the fact that females are never allowed to rule it.

The Priests are referred to as father but I wonder why because they are neither a parent nor gods to deserve the title.

So it’s not surprising that the Church invoked the analogy of a parent giving advice to a child; rather, a parent choosing for a child regarding matters like this controversy over the Reproductive Health Bill. In their minds it’s enough to trample on the principle of separation of church and state (a principle their European counterparts seem to abide by) when the child, in this case the Philippines, needs to be straightened out. Never mind if the surveys say a growing number want the bill to be passed, a parent should correct a child.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Grace is Gone (2007)

In watching this film I am reminded of what Col. William Ludlow (played by Anthony Hopkins) said in Legends of the Fall, “Samuel chose to be a soldier and soldiers die. Sent to be slaughtered by the men in the government.” The character Samuel was his youngest son who died in the trenches of World War I. He accepted the death as only a former soldier could. 

Here in Grace is Gone is also story of the death of another soldier, Grace Philipps, and how her husband and her two daughters deal with the aftermath. But Stanley Philipps (John Cusack) is not a Col. Ludlow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008)

In writing this review I agonized how to start it; but here goes: Just because there is a clown-like character does not mean The Dark Knight is a movie for children particularly those that barely walk.

I began that way because I was distracted – fortunately not so much – by a child, who seems to me, not old enough to walk. The mother had enough sense to go out with the child before making too much of a scene. So before bringing your child for this movie watch Batman Begins and maybe this time understand it, or, keep note of the fact that Adam West is 80 years old. The Dark Knight is not for children!

Do tools make a good man?

Of all the areas that the issue of reproductive health has touched I have always considered that population should be removed from the table by virtue of agreement.   There is nothing more painful to my ears than to hear the issue resurface and discussed over and over again.

Now how could I consider both parties agreeing when in the media they seem hell bent on tearing each other’s heads, hopefully not lierally. The reason is family planning.  Yes, each side favors its own method: natural in the anti-reproductive health side and artificial for those in favor; but whatever the method, if people calmly think about it, the intent is the same: control.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I was dreaming more of seeing the headlines with me as hottest matinée idol; Oscar winner; maybe Palanca Awardee, but this is not how I expected to see my name in the papers. That’s twice already in case people texting me this rainy weekend were wondering: 2004 and 2008.
Four years before a recycle, they must like my name. hehehe.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whatever happened to the little picture?

Whatever happened to the little picture?

It’s always about the big picture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Happening (2008)

If I were to describe M. Night Shyamalan in one word it’s minimalist.

From his works like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, and now The Happening he showed remarkable control of the story, never showing too much or too little. His pacing is perfect, it’s not boring, in fact it’s presented in a way that you are almost anticipating a monster to always pop out every few minutes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The first thought that crossed my mind during the opening scenes of the Incredible Hulk was Bill Bixby. Though the memory is almost gone, it was the TV series Bruce Banner whom I thought of - his eyes when he goes berserk; his ‘you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ remark; and that Gamma experiment which as I recall also happened in a lab and a chair similar to this 2008 incarnation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Erosion in Puerto Galera

Topography is hardly something I try to notice in a beach. Who would study the physical features of the land when you can study the physical features of crowd especially the ladies….

A nice sunny day, fine sand, clear water, and an atmosphere that seemed derived from a Beach Boys song are all I the qualities I look for. And there are a lot of beaches that fit that description in this country of ours, Puerto Galera among them.

But recently in my recent trip to Galera just this past week, topography was something I noticed, because if I am right, one of the favorite summer spots in the country may have its days numbered.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

If can be mobile like Po the Panda, do a split, do kung fu, in spite of my bulging tummy I’d be a happy man. Alright, maybe minus the splits.

Kung Fu Panda rocks! It’s somehow like the old Cris Farley (remember him?) movie Beverly Hills Ninja but a thousand times better and guaranteed to make you laugh.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

21 (2008)

Watching the TV series Numbers should tell you that math can be applicable in just about anything. For me, Math remains to still be understood as I barely passed it during my school days.

21 is a film a team of card counters (student geniuses) from M.I.T who went into Vegas to win big money using high level math. The interesting part is (and I’m still googling my way if) it was real. But suffice to say from the few readings I came up with a group of students did test themselves in Vegas with a system so effective they got away with millions.

Pasig Cools Down my Office

Waters in the streets usually herald the end of the hot days of summer and play time for the kids.

But not here: there are no kids as this is the front of my office, the Department of Budget and Management Building 1. And, the water you see there comes from Pasig River so play at your own peril. Furthermore, it did not rain that day at least from our area.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

If we judge based on the performances of past resurrected franchises such Rambo, Rocky, Terminator, and Die Hard, the Indiana Jones sequel would be on top. It came off in a shape fairly resembling its former self. I guess we can thank almighty Steven Spielberg for that feat. But then again, even Spielberg has his limits.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

Compared its Da Vinci Code riding predecessor, National Treasure: Book of Secrets is more appropriate of being called ‘national treasure’, because this time the treasure searched for was entirely American. Allusions to American Revolutionary figures in part one I believe were merely a side story as the fabled (and more European) Templar Treasure and mysterious organizations such as the Freemasons were the true crowd drawers.

Awake (2007)

There is a joke that goes: ‘Doc it hurts when I do this’; Doctor answers, ‘stop doing it’. Corny yes but what if you can’t do anything. What if you can’t stop that pain and it’s your own doctor that is giving it to you.

The backdrop of the story of Awake is a phenomenon called Anesthesia Awareness. The name itself betrays what is wrong with experiencing the phenomenon; when you are under anesthesia you shouldn’t be aware.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Iron Man (2008)

Except for mild surprise that Tom Cruise was not able to lock on the Iron Man movie, I had no opinions of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark when the movie was just green-lighted for live action production. Honestly, I had Patrick Bergin in mind for the role back in the mid 90s when Marvel seemed to be hot on making a movie of their characters. The mustache was the clincher.

Thankfully I had no Hollywood producer to hear my choices because I loved the performance of Robert Downey, Jr.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

On the surface The Other Boleyn Girl seem like your typical love triangle – two sisters battling for the heart of one man. And had the film been titled something more common as “The Other Woman”, and set in a period more contemporary, it could make some money here in the Philippines. But being a historical drama of Henry VIII’s England, I seriously doubt it’ll make decent money.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

John Rambo (2008)

Potentially John Rambo could have had more punch than the boxer movie Rocky Balboa, but it’s a dud. At least with Rocky you had some nostalgia albeit forcefully jammed down the movie goer’s throats with some old clips and locations.

This movie is emotionally dead. Such a big waste of opportunity if you think about it considering its intent was, like Rambo III, to try to bring attention to a war torn country: Burma in this case. But when part III succeeded, part IV failed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Replays (Coup Holdiays Redux)

(I wanted to edit Coup Holidays because it sounded bad to me, and this is what I came up with. For, thinking such writing would never see the light of day in a government newsletter, I gave it to my boss because I was facing deadlines. It did (or will) see the light of day, minus a few names and harsh words. Well here are the words in entirety. Here's to living somewhat dangerously in dangerous times.)

One cold December night I was watching the Return of the King on DVD when in the scene where Aragorn was meeting an army of the dead, I got a crazy idea.

Maybe this was what the Manila Pen Siege was all about; Sen. Trillanes, ala-Aragorn, beseeching the ghost of Andres Bonifacio to lead an army of dead Philippine revolutionaries to help him capture the leadership of this country.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Atonement (2007)

‘If you can go back in time and change anything, what would it be?’

You cannot, obviously.

Atonement is a film about wanting to go back, but maybe the more accurate description is it’s a film about being burdened with a pain in the past. As in life, there is not much the lead can do. What is done is done; there is no going back.

We make amends, do penitence; then maybe fate will look kindly, and give back that which was destroyed. Maybe . . .

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rendition (2007)

I looked the movie up on imdb.com and was only to happy to see the quote I loved and decided to start the piece with it.

“In all the years you've been doing this, how often can you say that we've produced truly legitimate intelligence? Once? Twice? Ten times? Give me a statistic; give me a number. Give me a pie chart, I love pie charts. Anything, anything that outweighs the fact that if you torture one person you create ten, a hundred, a thousand new enemies.”

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

This movie was a surprise in a low key kind of way. Actually, I was waiting for good old western style shooting; gunfights; cowboys; especially when one of the most popular leading men around, Brad Pitt, is the lead as Jesse James. I wanted action and I wanted to be dazzled. Instead, what I got was a puzzle, skillfully crafted, that I wanted to solve and savor even long after I have finished the movie.

And the puzzle is; who was the bad guy? A strange question if you think about it since the demarcation lines between good and bad are always evident in movies. But strange as it is, it is the only question that came to mind when I finished watching the film.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Coup Holidays

The government’s security agencies, for the umpteenth time, uncovered plot to destabilize the government. This time, they say, the plotters plan to use the Anniversary of Edsa II (Jan 20) and the Mendiola Massacre (Jan 22).

This recent news is just one in a long line of attempts and alleged attempts against President Arroyo since she took power in 2001. Many of these tidings of doom have come on or before special days like Labor Day, Edsa Anniversaries; and most recently Bonifacio Day.