Monday, February 28, 2011

Black Swan


Scratch deeper down the surface and you realize that more than just a movie about ballet, Black Swan, after all, is a psychological thriller rendered beautifully onscreen as a fine example of Man versus Himself. As an ambitious ballerina crumbling under the pressure of a make-or-break performance, Natalie Portman gives a technical yet riveting performance as Nina Sayers and drags you with her on her quest for twisted perfection as she delves deeper into finding her inner black swan. The film itself tackles the process of personal transformation, aided with convenience by the parallel dilemma of a ballerina tasked to do the dual role of the fragile White Swan and the feisty Black Swan in any production of Swan Lake.

The second half of the movie is undeniably where the fun is, and this is not even about the lesbo scene. This is the part where the main character’s delusions get in the way of her perception of reality. And since you, as part of the audience, see the movie though her point of view, neither could you tell what is real and what is not, leading to one surreal experience that could be headache inducing if you let it be. Other sources of inconvenience are the shaky camera shots and some extreme close-ups. Although bothersome at times, it actually helps establish an overall feel for the movie, effectively reflecting the main character’s disturbed psyche, which in turn helps you identify with her more. In effect, the director is giving you a visual piece of her f*cked-up mind.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Go With It


Adam Sandler plays the role of a plastic surgeon whose one major bad relationship experience has left him with a unique strategy to attract women: pretend that he is married. The fun ends when he finally meets a teenager he really likes but she considers his wedding ring as a deal breaker. Enter Jennifer Aniston as the assistant-turned-make-believe-ex-wife. Nicole Kidman makes a surprise appearance halfway through the movie as the sorority sister who just would not lose, and lingers towards the end as a plot device. Almost all the scenes are funny except for those with Kidman which were intentionally done to be over the top.

Rob Schneider is conspicuously missing, or was he just so heavily disguised to be recognized? In his place is Nick Swardson who also gets his fair share of the limelight and does not disappoint. Newcomer Brooklyn Decker squares off with Aniston in a two-piece bikini. The two kids are hilarious. Back to Kidman, one could not help but wonder why she even accepted a role that seems to have been made for the sole purpose of being mocked. It appears, however, that she was really enjoying what she was doing. Her participation in the movie is not billed, although her joining the cast had received much media attention when the film was still in pre-production.

Monday, February 21, 2011

[CEBU] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: February 19, 2011
Jeep (Pasay - Nichols Terminal 3) - 8.00
Terminal Fee (NAIA 3) - 200.00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Cebu - Manila) - 1,551.68
Multicab (Airport - Mercado) - 8.00
Multicab (Mercado - MEPZ) - 8.00
Multicab (MEPZ - Punta Engaño) - 8.00
Multicab (Punta Engaño - MEPZ) - 9.00
Lunch (Chowking) - 154.00
 Multicab (MEPZ - SM) - 14.00
Multicab (SM - Ayala) - 8.00
Taxi (Ayala - Magellan's Cross) - 86.00
Multicab (Magellan's Cross - South Bus Terminal) - 8.00
Bus Terminal Fee (South Bus Terminal) - 10.00
Ceres Aircon Bus (Cebu City - Argao) - 86.00
Dinner (Palengke) - 25.00
Habal Habal (Argao Town Center - Coal Mountain = 250/2) - 125.00
 Coal Mountain Resort (1 night = 1000/2) - 500.00

Sunday, February 20, 2011

[CEBU] I Dried Mangoes, You Danggit

We left Argao the next day at noon and arrived at Cebu City after an hour and a half. After getting off at the South Bus Terminal we immediately rode a multicab to Tabo-an to buy danggit (dried fish) and other possible presents for people back home. Half a kilo of danggit, six packs of dried mangoes, and two packs of durian candy would cost you around 500 pesos. Or did they rip us off? Did they? Honestly, I have no idea. My mother wants her danggit, regardless. We then rode a multicab to SM but got off at Sugbutel to check in. It was already 4 PM. Of course, the photos in this blog entry do not make sense. I did not take a picture of the danggit and I have nothing else to show.

[ARGAO] Wet By the Falls, Wet in the Cave

The same habal-habal driver picked us up and we then began our trip to the falls. On the way, we found a little house with two pretty ponds with water lilies on them. My friend could not help but take pictures, which the resident baby did not like at all. She cried, probably thinking my friend was a kidnapper or something. Or maybe the kid is just possessive. After a lot of mud, rocks, and lack of cemented paths, we reached the falls at last. Wearing jeans is not a good idea if you are planning to cross the stream unless your idea of fun is parading your dripping pants around town later on.

[ARGAO] Coal Mountain Resort

It was almost dark when we arrived at the place. I felt relieved that the darkness didn't catch us on the road because we braved a lot of unconventional paths just to get there. That's what I admire about our habal-habal driver/tour guide. Not only was he chatty in Tagalog, he also had a twisted sense of adventure.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

[ARGAO] The Habal-Habal Abs Exercise

Argao is a municipality located halfway between Cebu and Santander. It was an affluent town during the Spanish occupation because it served as a stronghold of the colonial government in the Visayas. Today, vestiges of colonial rule can still be seen around town in the form of old houses and structures such as the Puerta Marina in front of St. Michael Parish Church, which is a remnant as well.

[CEBU] Quality Time with the Beggars

I took another MEPZ multicab going back to the Chowking branch I saw beside the bright orange Islands Souvenir store. I attacked my food like there was no tomorrow. I have only seen one landmark and I was already spent. I was probably suffering from low blood pressure brought about by the multiple nosebleeds I got trying to understand Bisaya. I had more luck with the Chowking cashier as she explained in Taglish how I could crossover to Cebu City. However, the many alphanumeric codes of the jeepneys I should ride just lost me. I ended up boarding the first jeep I found, which was coincidentally headed to SM City Cebu.

[CEBU] Lapu-Lapu’s Washboard Abs

Take note that the name Cebu could mean three different geographic entities on your map. The entire province which can be found in Central Visayas is called Cebu, which includes that narrow island also called Cebu, which in turn contains the city to the east also called Cebu. Other islands that form part of the province are Camotes Islands to the east and Bantayan to the northwest. The province is surrounded by neighboring islands belonging to provinces of their own such as Negros, Bohol, Siquijor, and Leyte.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love and Other Drugs


Based on a non-fiction book about selling Viagra, Love and Other Drugs is an adult romantic comedy focusing on the dysfunctional relationship between Pfizer drug rep Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a young woman with Parkinson’s disease. Since the storyline is so generic, it brings about a lot of comparisons with many other romantic comedies you have already seen. What with the entire girl-thinks-they-shouldn’t-be-together-because-she-doesn’t-want-to-be-unfair thing going on, comparisons just cannot be avoided. The movie is rated R and has a lot of cut segments here in the Philippines because of sex scenes aplenty and gratuitous body shots from the two leads.

The rumors are true that Hathaway resembles a younger Julia Roberts here: the curly hair, the big mouth, and even the voice at times. There are also some similarities in terms of plot that would make it hard not to compare it to Pretty Woman. Onscreen chemistry is not only shared by Gyllenhaal with Hathaway but also with his on-screen brother, who is just as hilarious.



Fueled by his desperate infatuation with fellow nurse Ellen (Bangs Garcia), Conan (Vhong Navarro) resorts to following that superstition which involves whispering one’s wish to the dead. When things start to go awry he asks for his best friend Oprah’s (Angelica Panganiban) help to fend off the supernatural entity coming after him.

After seeing the first half of this movie, another film comes to mind: Drag Me to Hell, a B-Movie with superb special effects that gives you a genuine scare and one hell of a good time without being deliberately funny. Is it the same case for Bulong? Well, the thing is, the director seemed to have already set his mind that the finished product would not be an implicit horror-comedy. Instead, most of the scenes have been shot with the obvious intention of making you laugh. Star Cinema has marketed this movie as such from the very start, but with the brilliant film making involved helmed by Chito Rono himself, one cannot help but think that this could have been a serious horror flick with the right set of cast; AND still be funny without trying too hard. The result, however, is some sort of hybrid that seems to have lost its sense of self.

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