Sunday, December 17, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Fuel and force field running low, what remains of the Resistance attempt to flee, but find out soon enough that the First Order's fleet can track them even when they are travelling on light speed. After Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is knocked out unconscious by a surprise attack, the rest of the crew surrender to their fate. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and ex-Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega) devise a last-ditched attempt for survival, the latter teaming up with maintenance crew member Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) to find someone who can help them on a nearby casino planet. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) focuses on convincing self-exiled Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join their cause, all while trying to resist an unexpected psychic bond with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) that is interfering with her training. Will she be able to persuade the last Jedi master to save them before it's too late?

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Music has been prohibited in Miguel's (Anthony Gonzalez) household for the longest time ever since his great great grandfather abandoned the family to pursue a musical career, never to come back. Focusing instead on the family's burgeoning shoe business, grandma Elena (Renée Victor) makes sure that such ban remains in place, which becomes a dilemma for the young boy when he finds himself drawn to the allure of musical stardom. Putting two and two together, he realizes that legendary musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) is no other than the great great grandfather they never knew. Stealing his guitar from his mausoleum, he is magically transported with a simple strum to a parallel universe where dead loved ones find themselves after their life on Earth has ended. They are allowed to cross over back from the afterlife during Día de Muertos, Mexico's much celebrated Day of the Dead, as long as their family continues to remember them by keeping their photos visible on their altars. There, Miguel meets Hector (Gael García Bernal), a trickster who offers to help him reach de la Cruz in order to get his blessing and send him back to the world of the living before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Unexpectedly Yours

Patricia (Sharon Cuneta) has just turned 50. Her ex-husband Yael (John Estrada) is getting married to a much younger woman. Her daughter Yanni (Julia Barretto) is flying to London to live with her boyfriend that she met online. Her mother (Pilar Pilapil) is still as domineering as ever dictating what she can and cannot do with her life. Her inputs at work are no longer appreciated and she starts feeling unneeded. When seaman Cocoy (Robin Padilla) moves in next door along with his nephew Jason (Joshua Garcia), she finds his cockiness rather hard to bear. His persistence impresses her, though, and little by little she starts to care, but believes that she should know better at her age. Is there an age limit in committing mistakes? How old is too old when it comes to falling in love?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Justice League

Breaking free from exile, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) pays Earth a visit to collect his three Mother Boxes that will give him incredible power. Securing the first two being protected in Themyscira and Atlantis, he has but one box left to seize which was entrusted to mankind during the great war of centuries past. His return to Earth unleashes an army of Parademons that begin to terrorize everyone, prompting Batman (Ben Affleck) to assemble a team of heroes to defend the planet. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) joins in after seeing the Invasion Fire ablaze in a news report, an Amazonian signal that the ancient enemy has returned. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) agrees to fight despite initial hesitation after the attack of Atlantis. The Flash (Ezra Miller) needs not much convincing because he has no friends. In possession of the last box, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) completes the group when his father is kidnapped. Witnessing the limitless power of the boxes, they agree to take the risk and use its energy to revive Superman (Henry Cavill) so he can join the fight, but will their efforts pay off or will they be bringing back yet another monster from the dead?

Saturday, November 11, 2017


After five years of friendship and seven years in a relationship, Erika (Alessandra de Rossi) and Anton (Ivan Padilla) are calling it quits. He is angry and wants to salvage whatever is left of their ending romance. She is decisive and assures him that she just needs to find herself. They then spend the rest of the day reminiscing about the good times and the bad, alternating between laughter and tears in an effort to come to an understanding that will leave both parties satisfied. But when you've spent more than a decade of your life sharing everything with one another, there is just no way for an easy goodbye.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stranger Things: Episode 17

17. The Gate
An impromptu reunion unfolds at casa Byers. "Close gate" starts to make sense, with Joyce asking Eleven if she can close the portal she herself has opened. But killing the mind means killing the body, which happens to be Will. Joyce, Nancy, and Jonathan bring him to Hopper's cabin to "burn" the shadow monster out of him while Elle and Hopper head to the laboratory. Steve and the rest drive to the tunnel entrance to locate the hub, which they incinerate. The shadow monster finds the heat hard to bear and finally leaves Will's body, just as Eleven and Hopper reach the gate. Summoning all of her strength, she forces the otherworldly portal to close, hopefully for good. Owens survives and gives Hopper Eleven's adoption papers, while she is left under observation for at least a year. They allow her to have a night off to attend the school's Snow Ball. As the kids dance the night away, a quick glance of the Upside Down shows that the shadow monster is alive and well, looming over the school.

Stranger Things: Episode 16

16. The Mind Flayer
As the lab is attacked and its personnel are devoured one by one by the monstrous creatures of the Upside Down, Mike convinces Joyce that Will has been taken over by the shadow monster. They put him to sleep with a sedative shot and evacuate with Hopper and Owens to a locked room before the main power is cut off, leaving them trapped. Bob volunteers to reboot the routers. Nancy and Jonathan arrive at the gates of the lab just as Steve and the kids do after fleeing the abandoned garage. Bob reinitiates the mainframe and almost makes it out alive but is killed by one of the monsters right in front of Joyce. They all flee the scene leaving Bob's corpse and Owens, who is still trapped. They rendezvous at casa Byers waiting for their next move. The kids figure out that hurting the shadow monster possessing Will could mean affecting the whole super organism connected to it. Distracting it, Will sends them a message via Morse code. As they await the next attack, Eleven arrives just in time to rescue them.

Stranger Things: Episode 15

15. The Lost Sister
Tapping into her mother's visions, Eleven runs away to Chicago this time to find her "sister". Kali AKA "008" (Linnea Berthelsen) can create and manipulate illusions, and has spent much of her teenage years rounding up the people of Hawkins Lab for revenge while orchestrating petty crimes on the side with her gang of outcasts. She becomes Eleven's coach to better control her telekinetic powers and convinces her to join them in their cause. Tracking one of the men she saw in her mother's visions, Eleven comes close to killing him, but backs out last minute when she sees his children. The man claims that Brenner is still alive and that he can bring them to him, but police interruption has left this option unexplorable for the time being. Contemplating on the true meaning of family and friendship, Eleven decides to travel back to Hawkins after seeing a vision of Hopper and Mike in trouble at the laboratory, leaving her long lost sister in her life of crime and hiding.

Stranger Things: Episode 14

14. The Spy
Hopper and Will are rushed back to the lab where the former gets a thorough scrubbing while the latter is sedated and ends up suffering from some sort of selective amnesia. The lab people dismiss Will as a lost cause and suggest that they start torching the lair they just found. Will tells them that he knows a way to defeat the shadow monster, convincing Owens to send his team to a certain location in the lair that holds the answer. Dustin enlists Steve's help to get rid of his pet but they find out that it has escaped from the bunker after shedding its skin, meaning it just grew in size once again. Lucas and Maxine rendezvous with them at the old junkyard where they set up a trap. They are in for a surprise when the bait does not attract just one but rather three of the monsters they are anticipating. As they get trapped in an abandoned bus, the creatures retreat to their lair where they attack the lab team who were apparently led into a trap by the entity in possession of Will's body. Their next stop? The lab.

Stranger Things: Episode 13

13. Dig Dug
Nancy and Jonathan spend a night in a motel en route to wherever it is they are going to reveal their town's little secret. They contemplate on the status of their non-relationship. Dustin tries to get rid of his pet but only manages to lock it down their bunker for the time being. Eleven runs away from home to find her mother. She communicates with her the best way she knows how and ends up getting glimpses of what really happened the day she was born. Lucas tells Max everything that she needs to know about last year's events but she shrugs it off as one big lie. Will gets a premonition of Hopper's current situation and location. With the help of Bob, they figure out that his sketches are not a puzzle, but rather a map of Hawkins. They eventually locate the tunnel and Hopper, just in time before he gets consumed by the vines. The Hawkins Lab people also arrive with enough fire power to fight the enemy, but burning it proves to have an adverse effect on Will as well, who drops to the ground and starts shaking wildly.

Stranger Things: Episode 12

12. Will the Wise
Joyce arrives in time to see Will have another episode, but the shadow bonds with him completely by the time he snaps out of it. Eleven comes back home to a fuming Hopper after seeing Mike with Max at school and telekinetically tripping her on her skateboard. Grounded, she finds a box of files from Hawkins' Lab containing a dossier on Terry Ives, her mother. Nancy and Jonathan head over to meet Barbs' parents but realize that it's a trap. They are detained at the laboratory where Paul Reiser (Sam Owens), Brenner's replacement, explains how the organization is now reformed and shows them what exactly they are facing. Dustin keeps his pet from the Upside Down in his house and in secret as his friends continue to search for it. It grows bigger and bigger in a span of a few days and starts to resemble the monster that Eleven killed. What Will can't express in words regarding his psychic connection with the shadow, he draws, leading to Hopper's discovery of a huge tunnel underneath the dead pumpkins.

Stranger Things: Episode 11

11. The Pollywog
Eleven gets more and more impatient as the days pass by, but is still forbidden by Hopper to see Mike because it's "not yet safe." Dustin finds what he thought was a Pollywog in the trash can and adopts it before getting on full research mode as to what it really is. Showing it to the gang, it gets recognized by Will as the slug from the Upside Down that he vomited a year ago. Max, who is now part of the gang, asks Lucas about what happened to Will. Steve gives Nancy the cold treatment post-hangover. Hopper traces the cause of the dead plants and crops back to the laboratory where Will gets his therapy sessions. Joyce watches the tape recording from trick-or-treat night and sees the static white noise take the form of the monster on Will's sketch. Will gets some advice from his mom's boyfriend Bob (Sean Astin) on standing up to his demons so as to stop them from haunting him. When he gets transported to the Upside Down, he faces the monster, but it starts to bond with him.

Stranger Things: Episode 10

10. Trick or Treat, Freak
Eleven wakes up in the Upside Down, sees an alien portal, and destroys it before emerging on the other side. She runs over to Mike's but sees Brenner's group there. Scared, she hides in the woods. Fast forward to 1984, she asks Hopper if she can go out in disguise for Trick or Treat. He says no. The boys go to school in Ghostbusters costumes, only to find out that only they dressed up for Halloween this year. Joyce is worried about a sketch she finds in Will's room, that of the giant monster from the Upside Down. Max is terrorized by her older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) who blames her for their transfer to Indiana. Hopper investigates an ongoing pumpkin catastrophe which he thinks might be connected to the Upside Down. Jonathan lets Will go trick or treating on his own and heads over to a Halloween Party. As Mike rescues Will from one of his episodes, he admits how he misses Eleven and how he thinks she's still around. Dustin goes home and finds something strange wriggling in the trash bin.

Stranger Things: Episode 9

Pittsburgh, 1984. A group of juvenile delinquents rob a house during Halloween. A car chase with the police ends in a tunnel where one of them makes the structure collapse with her mind. Will and his friends go to the arcade one night and are curious to know who MADMAX is, breaking the top scores in all the games there. They speculate that it might be Maxine (Sadie Sink), their new skater girl classmate who just moved in from California. Will gets a flash and is briefly transported back to the Upside Down. He is taken to regular counseling sessions at a laboratory, but his episodes are dismissed as post-traumatic stress. The doctor is revealed to be part of the same organization Brenner belonged to, the same one still investigating the Upside Down. Nancy and Steve visit Barbs' family and have dinner with them. She is still racked with guilt about what happened to her friend. Hopper drives through the forest and makes it back to his wooden house for dinner, castigated by Eleven for being late.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

Odin's (Anthony Hopkins) departure for Valhalla marks the return of Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death who also happens to be his firstborn. Banished from the realm with all traces of her existence eradicated, she is back with a vengeance to seize her birthright. Overwhelmed by a much more powerful sister they never knew, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) find themselves in a precarious position that seemingly has no solution. Trapped in Sakaar as one of the Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum) gladiators, the God of Thunder must battle the reigning champion without the help of his hammer. That fighter is none other than the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who has been missing in action since the aftermath of Ultron. Convincing a fallen Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) turned bounty hunter to fight for his cause, Odin's son assembles a formidable team to rescue Asgard not just from the clutches of his evil sister, but also from the prophesized apocalypse referred to as Ragnarok. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

[MISSOURI] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 14 October 2017
Megabus (Chicago - St. Louis - Chicago) - 12.50

Saturday, October 14, 2017

[ST. LOUIS] No Gateway Arch for You

It's just that I don't think people really go to Missouri for sightseeing. Place "Tourism" and "United States" side by side, start mentioning states, and it'll probably take you a while to get to MO. People seem to go there either to study or to visit friends. In my case, I am visiting a friend who is studying there, which satisfies the hypothesis. It wasn't an easy process, though, because it seems the universe wanted me to suffer for this decision for some reason. In the end, I was triumphant. Tired, but triumphant. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

[ILLINOIS] Budget and Itinerary

WEDNESDAY: 11 October 2017
American Airlines (Washington DC - Chicago) - 66.20
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 81.00
Ventra (One-Way) - 5.00

Thursday, October 12, 2017

[CHICAGO] Cloud Gates and Skylines

Depression came back with a vengeance in Chicago, for all the wrong reasons. It's been quite alarming lately, how the interval between my bouts of obsession eventually leading to depression is getting shorter and shorter. As you grow older you'd like to think that you are getting wiser and you understand your glitches and what makes them tick better. At the same time, I guess I'm just getting more hardheaded and bullish when it comes to pursuing what I want and clinging to it. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

[WASHINGTON DC] Budget and Itinerary,_D.C.

MONDAY: 9 October 2017
Megabus (Philadelphia - Washington DC) - 5.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 50.00
Sbarro (NYC Combo) - 9.23
Fuel Pizza (Bacon Cheese Fries + Coke) - 7.57
Smartrip (Card + Load) - 16.90

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