Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Lion King (2019)

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Mufasa (James Earl Jones) shows his young cub the extent of their kingdom and how they are all connected in the circle of life. The king’s brother, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is not as thrilled now that he is no longer next in line to the throne. In an effort to usurp power and be the new king, he comes up with a plan to get rid of father and son. Teaming up with the hyenas, he leads his nephew to a gorge where a stampede of wildebeest endangers the life of the heir. Mufasa ends up giving his life for his son, while Simba (Donald Glover) is tricked into running away and giving up his place as the ruler of the Pride Lands. Far away from Pride Rock he finds a family in warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner). However, his life of no worries will have to come to an end as his childhood friend Nala (Beyoncé) finds him and urges him to take his rightful place as king.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Stranger Things: Episode 25


25. The Battle of Starcourt
El gets to extract the infection out of her leg. Hopper, Joyce, and Murray arrive. Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Erica drive to his makeshift communications tower at the hill to get good signal enough to reach the adults at the mall’s basement and guide them to the key. Billy ambushes the kids and the Flayed monster attacks. Steve and Robin drive back just in time to rescue the rest but El, Mike, and Max are cornered by Billy. Billy takes El to the monster to be turned into one of them. Everyone retaliates with fireworks. Billy comes to his senses just in time to sacrifice himself. Murray goes through the ventilation system to the room where he can deactivate the mall’s power source. Hopper’s code to the vault is wrong, but Dustin gets to contact Suzie, who gives them the Planck’s Constant which serves as the code. Hopper is ambushed by the Russian thug at the lab where they machine is. Joyce hesitantly triggers the keys, making the machine explode incinerating Hopper. The Mind Flayer dies. El is adopted by the Byers and they move out of Hawkins.

Stranger Things: Episode 24


24. The Bite
Joyce and Hopper take Murray and Alexei to the 4th of July fair to find the kids. The mayor sees them and calls the Russians who arrive there just in time to give Joyce and Hopper a chase before fatally shooting Alexei. The three leave the dead doctor there and drive away to escape. As the rest of Hawkins celebrate Independence Day, El and the gang see the giant Upside Down monster fast approaching them at Hopper’s cabin. They lock themselves inside. With Nancy holding a shotgun and Lucas/Jonathan wielding an ax, they help El dismember the monster, but not without her getting wounded. They break into a convenience store to recuperate and gather supplies before going to the mall to rescue Dustin and company, whom El finds telepathically. As Steve and the gang are cornered by the Russians, El’s group arrives just in time to rescue them, flinging a car at the Russian thugs and killing them. It doesn’t take long before she collapses to the ground, revealing that her wound somehow got infected by the Mind Flayer.

Stranger Things: Episode 23


23. E Pluribus Unum
Nancy is cornered by the Upside Down creature in a hospital room. Jonathan tries in vain to save her until El and the gang show up and she gives the Mind Flayer a beating. From there, they watch as the creature turns into a blob and ventures into the sewers back to the mill, where it informs Billy that it’s time. Robin and Steve are caught and tortured by the Russians but Dustin and Erica manage to escape. They cause a distraction using the vials of green goo to melt a hole in the ground before they rescue the two who are now under the influence of a truth serum. Alexei tells Hopper and Joyce through Murray that the Russians are trying to open a portal to another world, and they quickly realize what he is talking about. Hopper calls for backup, so they can storm the facility. El uses her powers to find Billy and she does find him and gets a glimpse of his tragic past which has led to him being chosen as a host for the Mind Flayer. He warns her that she shouldn’t have searched for him, before the Flayed convene at the mill to form one big monster.

Stranger Things: Episode 22


22. The Flayed
Steve, Dustin, Robin, and Erica find out that the room is actually an elevator. They descend all the way down and manage to get out by hiding on the shaft while waiting for the personnel to leave. They find themselves in a long hallway leading to a lab where they see a machine opening the portal that El closed. Hopper and Joyce pursue their leads and are led to an abandoned house where they discover a staircase under a bed leading to a lab. They meet Dr. Alexei and abduct him, with the Russian goon hot on their heels. They go to Murray (Brett Gelman), an eccentric ex-journalist friend of Hopper who speaks Russian. Nancy and Jonathan rendezvous with El, Max, Mike, Lucas, and Will at the Wheelers and put two and two together. They go back to the hospital to free Mrs. Driscoll and follow her back to the Mind Flayer’s lair, but Jonathan and Nancy are ambushed by their ex-boss and colleagues who are now part of the Flayed. They kill both and witness how the parasite leaves the bodies to form one gigantic creature.

Stranger Things: Episode 21


21. The Sauna Test
Nancy and Jonathan are fired by their boss. Mrs. Wheeler encourages her daughter to pursue the story to prove herself, so she visits Mrs. Driscoll at the hospital. Robin uses the money in their tip jar to get blue print of the mall and find out that there is a way to the room guarded by the Russians through the ventilation system. They recruit Erica (Priah Ferguson), Lucas’ sister, to go through the vent and open the door for them. Once there, they discover vials of green goo inside the boxes. Hopper and Joyce blackmail the mayor and find out that the Russians own Starcourt Mall, along with other lands southeast of Hawkins. One by one they visit the venues to further their investigation. Lucas, Mike, and Will call El and Max to warn them about the return of the Mind Flayer, and they suspect that it’s Billy. They lure him into the pool’s sauna to test him and a confrontation between him and El ensues. Now it’s confirmed. Back in the mill, it’s revealed that the Mind Flayer is forming his own army by using the people of Hawkins as host.

Stranger Things: Episode 20


20. The Case of the Missing Lifeguard
Hopper nurses a hangover but is dragged by Joyce to the Lab because she suspects they are back and up to no good causing the magnet issue. There, he is ambushed and beat up by one of the Russians. Robin cracks the code and, along with Steve and Dustin, discovers a group of Russians moving boxes into the mall late at night. El and Max continue to hang out and decide it would be fun to spy on the boys using her powers. Soon, they draw lots on who else they can spy on and they pick Billy. El discovers how he abducted the other lifeguard. She also witnesses him sensing her presence, which has never happened with anyone before. They go to the lifeguard’s residence to investigate only to find her and Billy there. Billy recognizes El as the one responsible for closing the portal. As the two girls leave, they knock the other lifeguard’s parents out cold. Will has a falling out with Lucas and Mike because they don’t want to do kid stuff anymore. While the three try to patch things up, Will senses that the Mind Flayer is back in Hawkins.

Stranger Things: Episode 19


19. The Mall Rats
Billy survives his accident but can’t remember much and is now getting visions of the Upside Down similar to Will’s. Mike avoids El after being threatened by Hopper. Confused, El runs to Max for help in deciphering a boy’s mind and they end up bonding and shopping at Starcourt Mall. There they see Mike, Will, and Lucas who are trying to find a gift for her. Caught lying, she dumps him. Dustin pays Steve a visit at the ice cream shop and asks for his help in deciphering the Russian transmission. Being multilingual, Robin helps them out and successfully translates the message but can’t decode it. Steve notices that the background music in the recording is not coming from Russia at all, but rather from the mall itself. Hopper invites Joyce for a dinner date but gets stood up as she seeks the help of the school teacher to figure out why the ref magnets in their home keep falling off. Nancy and Jonathan investigate rabid and exploding rats. Billy takes a colleague hostage and brings her to the mill, where a terrifying creature awaits.

Stranger Things: Episode 18

 

18. Suzie, Do You Copy?
A group of Soviet scientists and military operate a machine to open a portal to the Upside Down but fail. The general gives Dr. Alexei (Alec Utgoff) one year to fix it. A year later in Hawkins, El and Mike are a couple, much to Hopper’s disapproval because he doesn’t know how to handle raging hormones. He asks Joyce for advice and then invites her to dinner. She refuses because she’s still grieving Bob. Jonathan works as a photographer and Nancy as an assistant at the local paper, while Steve is serving ice cream with Robin (Maya Hawke) at the newly-opened Starcourt Mall. Dustin is back from vacation and installs a makeshift radio on a hill to contact Suzie, his girlfriend from Utah that he met at camp, but the gang doesn’t believe him. Left alone, his machine picks up encoded messages in Russian. Billy works as a lifeguard at the public pool and is eyed by bored housewives, including Mrs. Wheeler. En route to their scheduled tryst, he gets into a car accident and is dragged inside a mill by an invisible force. Will starts to feel otherworldly chills again.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home

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Five years have passed since Thanos’ snap, which millennials have coined as the Blip. Everyone who got “blipped” and came back post-Endgame now faces the oddity of being five years younger than their contemporaries. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) finds it hard to adjust to life without Tony Stark and believes that their coming school trip to Europe can be a perfect opportunity to unwind, except that he is ambushed by otherworldly Elementals attacking Venice, London, and Prague. Lucky for him, Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who claims to be from an alternate universe comes to help. Powered by an AI named Edith that Iron Man has left in his care, Spider-Man is forced to step up in a world with a shortage of Avengers to prove that he is indeed worthy of membership to the group, all while saving his friends as well as the planet itself.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

VIRGIN LABFEST 15: Set A

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ISANG GABING ANG BUWAN AY HILA-HILA NG GULA-GULANIT NA ULAP – Childhood friends Egberto (Ybes Bagadiong) and Elisimo (Heber O’Hara) rendezvous in their baranggay where they spend two nights digging a hole to look for treasure. According to a dream that features a ball of fire, the town is a hotbed for hidden gold. As the two reminisce on their childhood and contemplate on their lost friendship, they start to think that they are just using one another in a ploy for eventual betrayal.

Unfortunately, I did not understand what message this play was trying to convey. In a metaphorical level it could be a narrative about greed but it simply drowns in all its cryptic nature. The dialogues are all about mundane small talk and delve into pseudo-philosophical territory once in a while. You will be waiting for a punchline or a revelation but neither will come. On the contrary, congrats to both Bagadiong and O’Hara for keeping their energy levels high from start to finish, without which the material could’ve been intolerable.

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