Sunday, July 28, 2013

David F

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During the Filipino-American war, several groups of African American soldiers were sent to the Philippines to help defeat the rebellion. Some of them defected, joining the very same insurrection that they were supposed to stop. One of them was David Fagan. His story runs parallel to that of David F (Dax Martin), a gay impersonator in modern day Pampanga and one of the many Amerasians in Angeles searching for their origins that they never knew. All in all, the film serves as the story of anyone with African-American roots, but born and raised on the other side of the Pacific.

The movie shuttles back and forth between past and present and this somehow makes it rather difficult to watch. While the juxtaposition is admirable and displays some parallelism worthy of discussion, the excessive use of such eventually becomes a burden and comes off as quite gimmicky after a while, especially when you finally realize that the similarities between the David F of the past and the David F of the present is actually limited.


Amor y Muerte

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16th Century, somewhere in the Katagalugan region. Amor (Althea Vega), the daughter of one of Lakandula’s distant relatives, is married to Diego (Markki Stroem), a half-Spanish general. Together with Tia Soledad (Ama Quiambao), they live a rather simple life in a small hut with a few neighbors. The couple makes love passionately every night, and her wails of pleasure audible throughout the town has led the town priest to wonder how the native women of the land could have such strong libido. As her husband is summoned to Manila to quell a rebellion in Intramuros, Amor turns to the pagan snake charmer living by the waterfall for her quick carnal fix. What happens when the husband suddenly comes back unannounced and finds out about his wife’s extra-marital affairs?

Ekstra

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Loida Malabanan (Vilma Santos) is a single mother who has supported her daughter’s education until college by being a bit player, or in other words, a TV or movie extra. In her latest project, she tackles several roles such as that of sugar cane farmer and house maid, the salary for which she is reserving for her daughter’s tuition fee payment. Aside from being her primary means of livelihood, acting has also been one of her life’s biggest passions, the culmination of which is a talking role in the finale of a soap opera where she gets to work with a has-been actress who has been her inspiration since she was young. Ekstra is a film within a film, a playful jab on the world of bit players, but more than that it is actually an interesting take on the life of just another human being striving to make ends meet by doing what she does best, or what she thinks she does best. It is an honest look on the lives of those nameless faces that you often see onscreen.

Instant Mommy

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Bechayda (Eugene Domingo) is a production assistant in a long distance relationship with Kaoru (Yuki Matsuzaki) who is based in Osaka and is having a hard time processing his divorce. Their relationship is defined by the daily video chats they have over Skype conversing in a mix of Japanese and Tagalog about random everyday stuff happening in their lives. He and his parents are excited about the child’s birth, hopefully a son that would serve as heir to his business empire. She, on the other hand, would not stop working because she has a younger brother and a father to support. When her pregnancy, and in effect, her relationship with her long-distance lover are put in danger, she results in hatching an intricate plan to assure that she would not end up the loser, but things just do not turn out the way she expects them to.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Diplomat Hotel

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A hostage drama gone awry takes its toll on famous TV reporter Veronica Lansang's (Gretchen Barretto) professional life and mental health. Taking a break away from the limelight, she is hospitalized and is able to recover what is left of her sanity, but not her career. Itching for a comeback that society would simply not give her, she swallows her pride and takes on a job as a tabloid reporter. Her first assignment is The Diplomat Hotel, a once popular accommodation in Baguio that is now left in ruins, owing to its reputation as a haunted place.

The director had a short talk before the movie started which was cool and all and truly upped everyone's expectations because he promised a simple haunted house story that is supposed to be a mind-bender. However, the only mind-bending thing that left everyone baffled were the technical glitches, which multiplied and multiplied as the film ran its course.

Quick Change

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At first glance, Dorina (Mimi Juareza) seems to be just your average girl with the common mix of everyday life drama. She has a theater actor boyfriend. Her devotion to the Virgin Mary as a religious icon and a role model for beauty is unquestionable. She takes care of her half-Japanese nephew who lives with her and whom she accompanies to and from school every day. However, this is just what is visible in the surface, what meets the eye; the naive and indifferent eye of society. In reality, Dorina is a preoperative transsexual. The theater actor is cheating on her. And she makes a living by injecting her clients with collagen for cosmetic purposes. Illegally. Things start to get tricky when she finds out that the chemical she has been utilizing for her sideline is not really collagen all along, but Tire Black.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tuhog

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The lives of three individuals get entangled as a result of a highway accident that leaves them impaled by a single steel bar, the very instrument of their impending death which ironically keeps them alive for the time being by preventing further hemorrhage. Fiesta Dacanay (Eugene Domingo) is the perpetually grumpy bus barker who makes bus drivers cry. Tonio Sicat (Leo Martinez) is the retired and almost senile head of a family of four who decides to pursue his lifelong dream of having his own bakery. Caloy Sucat (Enchong Dee) is the young student whose biggest problem seems to be his and his girlfriend’s virginity. Rushed to a hospital that only has two operating rooms, one of them is bound to die. The question is who? Who should? Who would? When it comes to death, is there really such a criteria wherein one is more deserving than another?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Four Sisters and a Wedding

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Four sisters decide to get together and hatch a plan to prevent their youngest sibling CJ (Enchong Dee) from getting married. Eldest sister Teddie (Toni Gonzaga) returns from Spain, taking a break from her life as a maid/waitress despite her family knowing that she is there as a teacher. Second in line is Bobbie (Bea Alonzo) who comes back from New York with her boyfriend TJ (Sam Milby) and his daughter who does not like her. Manila-based Alex (Angel Locsin) is a struggling production assistant doing indie movies. The youngest sister, Gabby (Shaina Magdayao), is dubbed as the old maid and puts her life on hold to take care of their mother. Thinking that their only brother is making a big mistake, the four resort to every form of sabotage, but not without drama because each sister has her own personal dilemma to face.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacific Rim

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In the not so distant future, the alien life forms that humans have long feared would come to invade us begin their attempt to do so, but not from outer space. Instead, they utilize some sort of portal deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. Named after a Japanese word pertaining to strange creatures, these Kaiju continuously wreak havoc on the planet, causing considerable amount of damage both financial and human, particularly in cities surrounding the Pacific Rim. As a defense mechanism, humans develop Jaegers, gigantic robots manned by two pilots strong enough to battle a Kaiju. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) used to pilot a Jaeger along with his brother, but their last battle with a Kaiju somewhere near Alaska caused his brother’s death and his eventual disenchantment with life in general. As the Kaiju prove to be more persistent in their recurring waves of invasion, the last remaining Jaegers gather in Hong Kong to defend the last stronghold. It is here where Becket is recalled and ends up being partnered with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), an eager Jaeger pilot wannabe who wants to avenge her parents’ death.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Despicable Me 2

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Gru (Steve Carrell) and his minions are back for a second outing, this time joined by Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), an agent from the Anti Villain League out to recruit him for a special project involving a stolen serum. Despite all the hero and villain subplots, however, what really gets the highlight is his continuing story of fatherhood to his three girls and all the complications that come with it such as teenage boys and the pressure of finding them a mother.

Unlike Monsters University which depended on Pixar's track record and its existing fanbase, this sequel to Despicable Me seems to have relied heavily on its yellow minions for all marketing strategies. They figured heavily in the viral teasers and their involvement in the plot has been magnified as well. While the appeal of the story for the adult market rests mainly on the fatherhood angle, it looks like those yellow minions have become some sort of cohesive factor that amused moviegoers regardless of age bracket.

Monsters University

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Before they became a formidable scaring duo, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James Sullivan (John Goodman) were not really the best of friends; in fact, quite the opposite. Mike was the one eager to be a scarer but ended up being an outcast for not being scary enough. Sully was the popular one because of his family name and mere physical appearance. Certain circumstances endangering their attendance at Monsters University bring them together despite their differences and this becomes the start of a lifelong partnership that will eventually elevate them to greater heights.

As a prequel, it works well because it answers many questions that makes the original movie more logical. We get to know the origin of the characters, Randall's pronounced hatred towards Sully, the whole scream-as-energy premise that serves as the backbone of the film's universe. Whatever question you might have had back then will surely be answered now. Coming up with a sequel might have been a bad idea, although with the presence of this prequel, everything might just fall into place for a cohesive trilogy.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Universidade de Macau: O dormitório

Eu gosto muito do dormitório, não porque seja como um hotel, mas porque oferece o conforto do que preciso e isso basta para mim. Chama-se o East Asia Hall e se fica numa colina na ilha de Taipa, naturalmente dentro do campus, á cinco minutos mais ou menos a pé do prédio onde têm lugar as aulas. O meu quarto fica no décimo sexto andar. Acho que o prédio tem mais de 20 pisos em total, incluindo alguns sob o rés-do-chão.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Universidade de Macau: A comida


Como já mencionei, o custo da propina é tudo incluso. Cada semana os alunos recebem bilhetes: dois de cor verde para o almoço e o jantar, e um amarelo para o pequeno-almoço. O valor dos verdes é 21 patacas cada um; e os amarelos, 18 patacas. Somando tudo, chegam a 1,680 patacas para as quatro semanas do curso. Dividindo o resto dos 4,000 patacas para o dormitório e o custo do curso, é bastante evidente que tudo sai muito barato, né?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Universidade de Macau: O primer dia


Não tinha idéia onde ir no primer dia das aulas. O que fiz foi ir com os três coreanos e seguí-los onde quer fossem. Perguntámos a gente na biblioteca onde ir e deram-nos um mapa que era muito útil. O campus da universidade é bastante grande mas a maioria dos prédios principais ficam-se agrupados numa área bem acessível.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Universidade de Macau: A chegada


“Você fala português?” Eu sabia que o taxista não o falava. Talvez mandarim ou cantonês mas português? Não, não o fala, e isso é a ironia que é Macau. Acho que formava parte da província de Guangdong antes da chegada dos portugueses, assim a língua que domina é a língua local do povo. Agora se fala também mandarim devido à gran influência da China continental desde que recomeçou o controle das ilhas. Então, por que fazer tão pergunta se já sabia a resposta? Nada, talvez quisesse acreditar o contrário. Depois de tudo, estou aqui para aprender português, né? Não obstante, isto não é Lisboa. Com o meu mandarim básico, consegui fazer compreender ao taxista onde é que gostava de ir.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Universidade de Macau: Por que Macau?


Por que não? Eu sempre sabia que cada ano se realiza um curso de verão de português na Universidade de Macau mas nunca considerei inscrever-me nisso porque não tinha nem dinheiro nem tempo. Porém, agora que tenho os dois, já não há nenhuma razão para não ir. Além disso, eu vou dar mais motivos mas acho melhor presentar primeiro a minha historia de português.

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