Man Of Mars (August 8, 2003 – December 31, 2007)

March 1, 2007

March 2007

Filed under: films,music,personal — drei @ 12:00 am

Remastered Blue album of Joni Mitchell
Tue, 06 Mar 2007 03:42:00 GMT

joni mitchell

Today marks the first day of sale of the remastered version of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue, hailed as one of the greatest records of all time.  TIME magazine even included it in their list of 100 best albums of all timeJoni is considered to be one of the most influential female singers in the past four decades, and many artists regardless of gender consider Joni a great influence.  The Lilith Fair ladies alone show hints of Joni Mitchell every once in a while – the storytelling poetry of Lisa Loeb, the shaking voice of Jewel, the emotions of my favorite female singer Sarah McLachlan, etc.
 

I first heard of Joni Mitchell in my favorite comedy series FRIENDS, where a remixed version of Big Yellow Taxi was used in the soundtrack.  Then I heard the song sampled in Janet’s Got ‘Til It’s Gone from the really great pop CD Velvet Rope (which I bought on sale), then later revived by The Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton for a romantic comedy movie.  Then I got a ripped copy of the album Clouds through my friend Skeeter, and then later on got more albums through friend, former officemate, and the new Soluziona basketball star Shelley. (Peace Shelley!)
I am not familiar with all of Mitchell’s works, but these are the three tracks I consider her best:

“A Case of You” from the album Blue (1971)
A Case of You tells a sad story of infatuation, and is one of those really lonely ballads that make you emotional during tipsy moments.  Diana Krall’s version of this song was highly praised by Joni herself.  Other favorites from the album are My Old Man, Carey, and All I Want.  Next to Big Yellow Taxi, I think Carey is the second most notable upbeat Joni Mitchell song.  Joni sings: I could drink a case of you darlin’ and still be on my feet.

“Both Sides Now” from the album Clouds (1969)
This song was recently in the mainstream music scene because of the film Love Actually.  Who would forget the tearjerker montage of Ms. Emma Thompson when she discovered the infidelity of husband played by the versatile Alan Rickman?  The lyrics of the song take us to a profound perspective on life and love, and carry a very moving melody accompanying the theme.  This may sound morbid, but my good friend Lye actually considers Both Sides Now her funeral song (mine would be Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen, hehe).  The song was updated to a more solemn and soulful version in Joni’s 2000 orchestra album.  Chelsea Morning, another track from the album Clouds, is also a favorite.  Joni sings:  It’s life’s illusions that I recall; I really don’t know life at all.

“Cherokee Louise” from the album Night Ride Home (1991)
Cherokee Louise is my ultimate favorite Joni Mitchell song – a relaxing acoustic tune I can always associate with long travels at night, just as the album title says.  (Most of my favorite songs give that same effect; the instant example I can think of is REM’s E-bow the Letter).  The lyrics however tells a sad tale of a character who lives in a tunnel, with lots of hidden meanings in between.  I also personally think that the album Night Ride Home is equally great as the critically applauded Blue.  This 90’s work is one of her later albums infused with jazz and the modern sound, which actually fits more to the taste of the younger generation, which I suppose includes myself.  Other favorites from the album are the tracks Night Ride Home and Passion PlayJoni sings:  Cherokee Louise is hiding in this tunnel in the Broadway bridge.

Joni Mitchell is one unique artist whose talent ranges from painting to songwriting, and whose genre goes from folk to jazz.  I’m planning to buy the remastered Blue album as a Birthday present to myself, along with my “plan” to quit smoking (again).
 
 
War Movies
Fri, 09 Mar 2007 02:43:00 GMT

Recently I was able to watch three war movies on big screen – wars between musical divas, between ancient civilizations, and between desperate women.  All three films are based on previous works.

battle of american idol and destiny's child alumnae

Dreamgirls is a singing drama based on a stage musical, which was very loosely based on the biographical story of the pop group The Supremes.  If you simply love any form of musical, then there’s no reason you wouldn’t appreciate this movie.  The production may not be as grand as Chicago, and the story may not be as magical as Moulin Rouge, but it still was one enjoyable experience.  Jennifer Hudson truly deserves her win in the supporting Oscar award, with her convincing acting and really powerful voice (though I was rooting for personal favorite Cate Blanchett).  I don’t think that Jamie Foxx was forgettable in the film as some critics claim, when in fact I thought he had so much presence in the movie, and the story would not be that compelling without his fine acting.  Eddie Murphy was great as the junkie pop star, and Beyonce had her few moments as well.

Good thing I watched Dreamgirls with fresh-from-MBA Che, since she was a member of the UP Singing Ambassadors during her undergraduate days, and definitely knows how to appreciate good music.  (We used to watch a lot of horror movies and go on impulsive food trips until she got so busy with MBA.  Good thing she’s back!)  I also think my mother would enjoy this movie since she’s a fan of Diana Ross and The Supremes.  All music lovers familiar with the era of The Supremes, Lionel Richie, the Jacksons, and all those old school Motown sound will enjoy this movie.

androgynous Rodrigo Santoro versus Phantom of the Opera's Gerard Butler

300 is a revolutionary action movie based on a graphic novel, which was loosely based on the historical Battle of Thermopylae, the Spartan war against Persian forces.  The movie is so great that it reminded me of so many great moments in recent filmmaking.  I just love everything about 300 – the choreography, the colors, the music, everything.  In the middle of the movie I was already thinking of buying the original DVD when it comes out.

For a moment I was wondering if Hans Zimmer did the musical score of the movie.  Good thing he didn’t, and the filmmakers wouldn’t be accused of doing a Ridley Scott.  In fact, a lot of the scenes reminded me of Scott’s 2000 epic Gladiator, especially the scenes with the yellow fields, with the queen and her son in the foreground.  Incidentally, those specific moments were said to be the only parts of the movie that weren’t taken from Frank Miller’s images.  In addition, 300 took advantage of a March release, to lead the blockbuster season and avoid the summer competition.  Gladiator used that same technique (so did the first Matrix), which I think is reasonable, since franchise sequels usually own the summer playdates, and there “might” be a chance that good films like Gladiator and 300 wouldn’t earn as much.

If Troy showed us three barenaked men in lousy battle scenes, this one gives us a hundredfold more with creatively choreographed and cinematically captured stunts.  Fight scenes were simply massive and breathtaking, the best since The Two Towers.  And only in the first Matrix and 300 was I amazed with the visual techniques of capturing fast action scenes.  The only minor downside for me was the macro shots of the movie, which was difficult to appreciate because of the texture.  Nothing still compares to the work of cinematographer Christopher Doyle in Hero.  But like Hero, almost every scene in 300 is a masterpiece.

My college friends and I were so excited for 300 that we had to watch it during its first day of release.  And what a great moment 300 was for cinema in this generation.  It even entered IMDB’s Top 250 list of best movies of all time during its first week, and got a standing ovation in its world premiere in Berlin.  This is one movie no cinephile should miss.

Australia versus Britian in Notes on a Scandal

Notes on a Scandal is a suspense drama based on a best-selling novel.  The movie lasted only an hour and a half, but seemed so long because of the gripping suspense and really topnotch acting.  British Judi Dench and Australian Cate Blanchett play high school teachers in London who both lead desperate lives full of foul secrets.  The dirty laundry of all women in Desperate Housewives combined is no match to the psychological thrill of this very dark drama.  Tragedy and secrets unfold one after another, and the desperation of the main characters just gets into your face scene after scene.  Notes on a Scandal is simply a fine work of intelligent writing, well developed characters, and superb acting.

I watched Notes on a Scandal alone since I was certain it will only run for a week, and it’s hard to drag people in this relatively unknown movie (especially that it’s only shown in Greenbelt).  I’m really glad I caught the movie on big screen, though I must say it’s not the perfect film to de-stress with after a long day’s work.

Good thing it’s already the weekend.  Happy weekend everyone!
 
  

Audiophile
Thu, 15 Mar 2007 15:59:00 GMT

obsession 
click image for details

American Idol Season 6 had its Diana Ross episode, and sadly I think the current batch is a little weak.  My top bet would be Melinda, though physically she doesn’t have the star appeal.  She has one of the best voice quality and most powerful range, and she is the most humble contestant in the batch.  Next personal bet would be Stephanie, who has this Toni Braxton and Beyonce thing going on.  Among the males, there’s no extraordinary candidate, but my quick favorites would be Chris and Blake.  During this week’s episode, some girl butchered the lyrics of Missing You, which I consider Diana Ross’s best hit.

My current favorite album is Undiscovered by James Morisson, which I recently discovered, thanks to recommendations by Dianne, Eugene, and Ferdz.  The album is a collection of mostly upbeat alternative tracks, and James’s sound reminds me of Gavin Degraw and some Maroon 5, with a jazzy voice quality similar to Jamie Cullum.  The first track alone is not to miss, Under the Influence, with its strong violin melody and happy tune, while the album track Undiscovered uses a vocal choir adding an excellent dramatic feel to the sound and lyrics.  Personal favorites are You Give Me Something, Wonderful World, This Boy, and The Pieces Don’t Fit AnymoreUndiscovered is one must have album.
   
        
My Birthday Week: from A to Ziggy
Wed, 28 Mar 2007 10:39:00 GMT

My birthday week started with a mini picnic with close friends at the UP sunken garden, and ended with a whole day affair with Ziggy Marley.  Unlike last year when there was pressure to celebrate because of the quarter mark, hehe (I had a mini pasta party the weekend before, and climbed Luzon’s highest peak the weekend after), this time I had to slow it down.  Or so I thought.

Two nights were spent on my “new” sport, ultimate Frisbee, thanks to good friend Roselle who gave me a great beginner’s training. The midnight before my birthday was celebrated with former officemates (and now Frisbee buddies hehe) Van and Shelwin, having dinner in our favorite Mr. Kebab, and finishing beer in Quatro.  During the day itself, my best buddies at work Aisen and Oliver invited for lunch at SOMS Noodle House, the affordable Thai kitchen and one of my great food discoveries in 2006, and as a treat Oliver paid for the bill.  Former officemates also invited for dinner, to this place I’ve been advertising to them since last year – SOMS!  Since they were willing to go all the way to Makati from Ortigas during rush hour, I didn’t mind having my 2nd SOMS meal on my birthday.  Shelwin and Abi brought me a new Frisbee disc, and Jimelle paid for the bill.  I was so lucky not having to spend on meals on my birthday!  Late at night, I was meeting the end of the day with Lye and Skeeter, spending a nightcap in Ziggurat, finishing Indian food and watching the rain in front of us.  It felt great starting and ending my day with great friends.

By Friday, I got two surprise cakes from officemates (the latter was not actually a surprise since it’s part of our department’s tradition, but I’m still glad especially that they gave me a new issue of this great photography magazine).  And by Saturday, I spent the entire day with Nana, for the press conference of Ziggy Marley, and for his live performance in the Philippine Plaza.  In between the two events we spent the entire afternoon pigging out and window shopping, and by concert time more friends joined us, euphoric and alive because the son of the reggae legend was actually dancing and singing in front of our eyes.  Skeeter, who used to work for MTV, gave me VIP passes as a birthday gift, and Nana, as Chalk’s associate editor, got me Press passes.  It’s just the perfect time when birthdays and connections do matter.  Hehe!

press conference at mojito bay performance at the philippine plaza poolside
Click here for more pictures

Instead of resting on Sunday, I had to wake up before lunch since I had a Calculus tutorial session in the afternoon.  This part-time job (and quasi-hobby) started in college, and until today I still get occasional invites for lectures and tutorials.  I’m glad I accepted this one, since the parents of my tutee were two of the nicest people I’ve met, and they remind me so much of my mom.  Aside from age, they have the same values and almost the same admirable treatment towards their kids.  In fact after the tutorial session, the three of us were still chatting over her homemade pansit and refrigerator cake, talking about universities, the corporate world, and parenting.  Meeting one such nice and humble couple was one great way to end the week.

By Sunday night, the stress of the entire week has consumed my entire body, and made me really sick.  I took two days off from work; good thing my brother Doms kept bringing me food every time he went home and would even text me if I wanted anything, and my brother Oliver who’s graduating in med school in a few months kept checking on me, and was my acting doctor.  For two days I did nothing but sleep on the couch, eat, listen to Elliot Yamin’s new album (sent by Ferdz as a birthday gift!), and watch tons of episodes of The Simpsons.

I’m honestly glad I got sick since I got to rest for two straight days.  Now it’s back to the real world, and back to work, with one year added to my age.  But then, I don’t think birthdays are all about changing a digit (or digits to some hehe) to one’s age, but it’s the way for the universe to tell us that we have another year to celebrate life.  And I really think it should be celebrated well.  Cliche as this may sound, here’s to more years of fun travels, great photographs, good music, excellent movies, and wonderful friendships!
 

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December 1, 2006

December 2006

Filed under: music,personal,photography — drei @ 12:00 am

December Updates
Thu, 14 Dec 2006 02:20:00 GMT
 

intramuros at night courtship during Rizal's time
a walk back in time skyzx as inang bayan

When I brought my mom and sister during the opening night of A Walk Back In Time in Intramuros last month, I told myself I should watch the semi-interactive theatre performance again, and definitely bring my camera.  Last Friday several college friends and I were able to experience yet another crash course on Philippine History in the perspective of Manila (specifically Intramuros), and as always Tanghalang Pilipino never fails to amaze audience with great production and world class talent.  Friend Skyzx was perfect as Sisa (who actually had fans around her after the play!), who later transformed into Inang Bayan during the closing sequence.  It’s always interesting to know that this country is so rich in culture and talent, but then disheartening that not everyone has the access, or is interested in the first place.  I believe A Walk Back In Time still has one or two more weekend runs in Intramuros, and it’s highly recommended to all (including non Filipinos).  And it’s shown for free!  (Next year I plan to catch their rerun of the very funny Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Musical, and the theatre version of Sionil Jose’s The Pretenders)

johnoy, formerly from the bridge mytee, peewee, lye, skeeter, novs

Last week I was able to catch the gig of brilliant friend Johnoy, the Dave Matthews of the country, in Fresca Bar (which during our long gone college days was still known as Tapika Bar).  It’s always great reminiscing to good old times with the music of Oasis, Hootie and the Blowfish, Goo Goo Dolls, Dave Matthews Band (of course!), and the more recent ones from Coldplay and Jeff Buckley.  Plugging: Catch Johnoy and some of the talented artists in the Pinoy rock scene in the once in a blue moon Beatles Night on December 18 in 70s Bistro.  It’s a night every audiophile in the metro shouldn’t miss.

the financial systems team ang payaso
le carnivale walter and alvin

Last Tuesday Hewlett-Packard had its Carnival-themed company Christmas party in Le Pavillon.  The hall was filled with booths of dirty ice cream, buffet food, and Nachos, all for free; and of course there’s the overflowing faucets of beer in one corner.  (French practice: Nous allons au Pavillon a Mardi, et nous maungons la glace et Nachos.  Haha!)  Some of my teammates and I chose to avoid the crowd and the expected long program and stayed in the lobby, where we got to enjoy our booze and smoke.  I wasn’t really planning on attending the party because it was a weeknight, but then the major prizes in the Christmas raffle really caught my attention (plasma TV, 80gig ipod, etc).  Sadly I didn’t get to bring home any of the major prizes, and instead got myself a new non-stick frying pan.  Not bad, hehe.

with shelwin, sherbee, julie, and abi swimming gear

Last night I had my Christmas dinner with my circle from my previous company in Sherbee’s new Ortigas condo.  It’s always fun hanging out with great friends, and I’m glad we still keep in touch even after I left my old company.  And for our kris kringle, another item is scratched off in my Christmas wish list: a new pair of swimming goggles!  Thanks Julie!  (I got Abi the new Incubus CD and a spa gift certificate)


Next week I’ll be flying home with my sister for the holidays.  I’m planning to visit my father’s hometown alone in South Cotabato, which sadly may not push through since my Titas think I may not be able to return to Iligan for Christmas on time; they say bus rides could be really terrible.  Tsk.  I’m still hoping I can go though, since I miss my Aunt Shirley so much, and I’ve never traveled to my father’s place by myself.After Christmas, I’m going whiteriver rafting with high school friends in Cagayan de Oro!  I’m so excited for this, especially that my college friend and dormate Dianne will join us (all the way from Baguio!), and will stay with my family for a few days before the New Year.  The itinerary of her first visit to Iligan City includes visit to the famous waterfalls and spring pools, and I just love touring people in my home city.  I can’t wait!It’s just few days before Christmas.  Happy Holidays everyone!!
   
     
      
Best Music of 2006

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 15:59:00 GMT

In 2004 I made a list of my favorite albums and singles of the year and for 2005 I made a quick list of my favorite albums.  This year, there are six albums that became personal favorites.  If you haven’t bought gifts for friends or for yourselves this Christmas, I highly recommend any of these.

continuum by john mayer
Continuum by John Mayer
A definite first in the list is John Mayer’s new studio album since 2003’s Heavier Things.  Many may argue that Mayer’s first album Room For Squares is still his best work, but I personally think Continuum is just as great, or even better.  Room For Squares was the perfect shower companion which makes me sing my lungs out line after line of any track on the album; Continuum on the other hand is a less sing-able and more mature and personal take on Mayer’s music, and much more endearing.  Of course we still hear the signature upbeat sound of his guitars, but the theme is the selling point of the record.  Mayer sings “when you’re dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part”, which could probably be the saddest line in the history of breakup songs.  Continuum is also my bet for Album of the Year in the Grammy’s this year.  Favorites in the album are Heart of Life, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Waiting on the World to Change, In Repair, and I Don’t Trust Myself (In Loving You).  Catch the two part season 7 opening of CSI Vegas, where John Mayer guested as himself and performed two tracks from the album.  (Digression: because of too many good TV shows right now – with Gregory House leading the pack – I wasn’t able to catch up with CSI and forgot how great the show is.  It definitely still is noir TV at its finest.  Thank you Shelley for the updated episodes!)

chariot by gavin degraw
Chariot by Gavin DeGraw
This album was actually released more than a year ago, but I only got to hear the entire album this year, thanks to my college editor Egai.  This album is like Continuum but in Prozac, no wonder Bo Bice and Elliot Yamin used one of his songs in American Idol.  (Another TV related digression: I think 2006 is the worst year for Idol.  When I was expecting a Chris-Elliot finale, we were given a trying hard pretty face and a dancing old guy, hehe!)  This album is definitely going down in the history of alternative music.  Favorite tracks in the album are Belief, Overrated, Meaning, Just Friends, Nice To Meet You, and More Than Anyone.  Last year Degraw performed with John Mayer in a charity concert, with Andre Agassi as a major supporter and guest.  Man, that charity show would have been perfect for me!

fragmented by up dharma down
Fragmented by Up Dharma Down
The first of two OPM artists in this list is Up Dharma Down.  The NU Rock awards Best New Artist is one unique act, whose sound is a creative mix of funky jazz and soulful alternative.  Around midyear I was so into their music, that I watched one of their intimate gigs and watched them perform in the MTV Pilipinas Awards, not to mention that both were during weeknights.  Favorite tracks are June, Pag-agos, Layag, and Oo.

the powder room stories by skarlet
The Powder Room Stories by Skarlet
Who would’ve thought that the reincarnate of Ella Fitzgerald is a Filipina?  Formerly the vocalist of the ska band Put3ska, and the reggae band Brownbeat All Stars, Skarlet is one hell of a terrific artist, whose talent really belongs to the jazz genre.  Her first solo record The Powder Room Stories is a perfect album of Big Band and vocal jazz.  Forget those Bossa artists who keep popping everywhere, this is what real vocal jazz is all about.  The opening track alone can transport you to the set of the Chicago musical, and her rendition of One Way Ticket to the Blues is one of the best I’ve heard.  Notable tracks are Anguish, a ballad she wrote for the guitarist of Color It Red after his 10 year old daughter succumbed to cancer, and Babae Ka, the only Tagalog song in the album.  Favorites are the upbeat Birdy Bop and Call Me, which on a first impression gave a Diana Krall feel.  Official release of Skarlet’s album will be on February 2007.

corinne bailey rae
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne is nominated for three of the four major Grammy Awards for this year, and I’m really hoping she’ll get the Best New Artist trophy.  Even the great John Mayer is a big fan, and writes about Rae in his blogCorinne’s first album is one masterpiece of relaxing soul music.  Favorites are Trouble Sleeping, Put Your Records On, Like A Star, and Call Me When You Get This.

in my own words by ne-yo
In My Own Words by Ne-yo
I’ve never loved an entire RnB album since TLC’s Crazysexycool, and Ne-yo’s freshman work is definitely the bomb of 2006.  (Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake would be runners up in the bomb category this year.)  Modern rhythm and blues may always be associated with shallow lyrics, and this one is no exception, but it’s the sound that makes RnB what it is.  Danceable beat, hip mood, and funky melody.  In My Own Words is a prime example in that heap, and a big winner at that.  Favorites are Sexy Love, It Just Ain’t Right, and Get Down Like That.

See the 2006 Grammy Nominees here.


Personally, 2006 was a great year for pop culture, travel, and career.  The general “theme” of my year may that be of nursing a broken heart, but the rollercoaster ride of emotions could just be worth it.  Initially, I forcibly enjoyed music, movies, theatre, and TV this year.  I climbed the peak of Mount Pulag, partied in the beaches of Galera and Boracay, and discovered different islands in Zambales, Batangas, and the Visayas, partially thinking that all these travels will speed up the healing time.  I moved to a new company, which by far is the best company I’ve worked for.  In the end, I realized I still genuinely enjoyed the year, despite the said “theme”.  2006 was a blast, and I can’t wait to conquer 2007.I’m now home in Iligan City for the holidays.  If in Manila I barely have time to watch all the movies I want to watch, meet all the friends I want to meet, or finish all the things at work, my life here is an exact contrast.  I have all the time in the world, and I even have to look for things to do.  Almost everything is also prepared for – a clean house, delicious meals, and laundry I need not pay.  I know this is normal to many people, but not to someone who’s been away from home since college.  This afternoon I played badminton with my dad, brother, and sister, in the gym of my dad’s company and after the game we were enjoying native chicken Tinola at home, which during the morning was still a live chicken that our maid bought.  Earlier at lunch we had fish, shells, and Bulalo.  If there’s one thing I always miss in Iligan, it’s the food, since everything is fresh, and there’s seafood everywhere.  Good thing I still have more than a week to enjoy all these, along with a Sedaris book to finish (this guy is hilarious!) and as always a bunch of DVDs to watch (saw the Japanese film Battle Royale last night – great and gory!).

Hoping everyone is enjoying their holidays as well.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
  

August 1, 2006

August 2006

Filed under: events,films,music,personal,tennis — drei @ 12:00 am

The Dark Knight
Thu, 03 Aug 2006 05:14:00 GMT

With the tentative title The Dark Knight, pre-production for the sixth Hollywood Batman film has started.  Heath Ledger accepted the role of the Joker, and talks are going around that Philip Seymour Hoffman is being offered the coat of Penguin.  If ever that piece of news is true, I hope Oscar best actor Hoffman accepts the role; definitely he can par Danny DeVito’s performance as the disturbed sewer genius in Batman Returns.  If ever he does accept, it can be the start of his stereotype as an effective villain (after Mission Impossible 3), and Batman will be faced with two acclaimed actors from last year’s famous gay films (Hoffman for Capote, Ledger for Brokeback Mountain).  But for now, consider this Hoffman news as plain scuttlebutt (which we all hope to be true).  As for Heath Ledger, I’m just crossing my fingers he’ll give justice to Batman’s most popular nemesis.  Batman fans including myself were surprised with the decision, and a lot would actually prefer Paul Bettany, Adrien Brody, Jude Law, or Hugo Weaving to play Joker.  I personally think Heath Ledger is too serious an actor to be joking around with white powder all over his face.  We’ll see.

 Heath Ledger as the new Joker   Jack Nicholson as Joker in 1989
The last laugh: will Heath Ledger do a better Joker than Jack Nicholson?

 Philip Seymour Hoffman was rumored to be offered the Penguin role   Danny DeVito as Penguin in 1992
Pray that Philip Seymour Hoffman accepts the Penguin role.

I just feel bad for Tim Burton, since the villains he used in his Batman films are recycled, and could probably erase his legacy in the Batman franchise.  I still love Tim Burton’s style, and I think Chris Nolan’s noir touch is just incomparable to Burton’s gothic treatment.  Each is simply a master in his own field.

But then, summer 2008 is still eons away.  For now, I’m hoping to catch the comedy musical The Producers in Glorietta this weekend.  Or give in to the invitation to watch Sukob again.  Hahahaha!

Good day everyone!
 

Up Dharma Down at Magnet Cafe
Fri, 11 Aug 2006 06:16:00 GMT


Up Dharma Down at mag:net cafe in Katipunan

For the past week their album was the only music I listen to at work (okay, sometimes I squeeze in Ne-Yo’s Sexy Love in my playlist).  The music of Up Dharma Down has such a unique jazzy and alternative sound, which is unusual in the OPM arena.  Their songs may be of pain and sadness, but the theme of their songs add emotions to the music.  After an accidental glimpse in one of their mall tours and their gig in mag:net cafe last August 8, I’m hoping to catch them again in the MTV Pilipinas Awards.  Their opening act in mag:net cafe was Paramita, a really cool trio with bitter yet edgy music.

Happy weekend everyone!

A Silent German Film with Radioactive Sago
Thu, 17 Aug 2006 02:51:00 GMT

pioneering expressionist film   radioactive sago project
Caligari and Radioactive Sago Project: a marriage made in creepy heaven

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari/1920).  Prior to the films sponsored by the Geothe-Institut, my only exposure to silent films was the Charlie Chaplin movies my parents used to watch during the Betamax days.  And I should say the opening movie of the 3rd German Silent Film Festival was my first ever encounter to a live band performing the musical score of a silent film.  And what a great cinematic experience it truly was!  (not to mention that I was star struck seeing the great Jessica Zafra inside the cinema!)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari follows the story of murders in a village that may or may not be related to a mad scientist’s passion to somnambulism.  The slow percussions and jazzy sound of Radioactive Sago Project were perfect for the film; the tempo and mood complemented the theme and storytelling.  I very much agree to what Bert Sulat Jr wrote, that “The combination of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Radioactive Sago Project is a marriage made in creepy heaven.”  And a very well attended wedding at that!

Now I can’t wait to get a copy of Nosferatu, hailed as one of the best expressionist films alongside Caligari.  And of course, I can’t wait to watch the rest of the silent films, especially that Cynthia Alexander will be performing in one of the films.  I’m just glad I live in Metro Manila – a haven for affordable and accessible culture.

(Digression: last Monday, I got to watch the MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards in VIP seats.  Great to see INXS and Mig Ayesa up close.  The performances of Urbandub and Up Dharma Down really rocked the PAGCOR Theatre.  And Dicta License’s tribute medley to Francis M was the night’s highlight, which was later joined by Francis himself, the year’s lifetime awardee.  Thanks to Skeeter for the tickets!  Again, talk about accessible culture in the metropolis.)

The German Silent Film Festival runs in Greenbelt every Tuesday.


Last Grand Slam of Andre Agassi
Tue, 29 Aug 2006 05:56:00 GMT

 serving agassi

The first round of the final grand slam of the greatest player in the history of tennis was mind-blowing.  During the second set I feared that Andre Agassi would leave the US Open so soon because of the tight score.  Even though I was only tracking the real-time scores online (at work, hehe), I still felt the intensity and pressure of the game.  Romanian Andrei Pavel won the first set with a 6/7 score, and Agassi had a hard time winning the 2nd set, finishing after 66 minutes.  I actually thought it would be a breeze for my man since our namesake is also more than 30 years old, whose career high was only at the 2002 French Open when he reached the quarterfinals.  It seems like the other Andrei was also prepared, since Agassi’s win in the 3rd set was no ease either, with only six minutes short of the 2nd set, and having an identical score to the previous set, 7/6.  Good thing Agassi got the fourth set after only 31 minutes, and is now assured of at least two games in his farewell grand slam in New York.
 
Sadly however, Andre is unseeded after frustrating performances in the pre-open tourneys, so definitely he’ll be facing strong opponents in early matches.  On the second round he’ll be matched with the young Baghdatis (who almost toppled Federer early this year in Sydney), and as early as 4th round he might be facing America’s comeback player Andy Roddick (fresh from a new tourney win and a new coach).  It’s actually a tough season to be Andre’s last, and his exit might not be as fairy-tale as Pete’s final show.  But then, Agassi’s credentials are already beyond fairy-tale standards, and any form of exit is definitely a happy ending.


I look like a Malaysian F1 driver, haha!
Thu, 31 Aug 2006 02:54:00 GMT


 

February 1, 2006

February 2006

Filed under: films,music,personal — drei @ 12:00 am

Best Albums of 2005
Wed, 01 Feb 2006 10:08:00 GMT

Here are four of the greatest albums I’ve heard in 2005.
I know this post is rather late, but better late than never!
  


Coldplay


Jack Johnson


Renee Olstead


Damien Rice


My current favorites are So Sick by Ne-yo, Ugly by Sugababes, and Be Without You by Mary J. Blige.  Yep, I’m back to enjoying RnB these days!  I know it’s ephemeral and I seldom buy albums in this genre, but these tracks just keep me up and awake at work.

I might also visit Xaymaca this Monday for the Bob Marley Night.  I simply miss live reggae!  (which reminds me, the UP Fair will be on in a few weeks, yebah!)

Enjoy listening people!
 


2005 Movies
Sat, 04 Feb 2006 09:48:00 GMT

Here are my favorite films for 2005:

10.  La Visa Loca
9.  Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride
8.  Kung Fu Hustle (Hong Kong)
7.  Cinderella Man
6.  Bad Education (Spain)
5.  Sin City
4.  The Constant Gardener
3.  The Spanish Apartment (France)
2.  Crash
1.  Batman Begins

Obviously, Batman Begins was the most celebrated movie in this blog last year.  I might have written about it a few hundred times.  There are still dozens of 2005 movies that I still have to watch, so consider this list of mine partial.  I watched Walk The Line last night and it was good; I want sweet Reese Witherspoon to win the AcademyBig Time was very good, I enjoyed it even more than Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and Pepot Artista, both winners for best director and best picture in last year’s Cinemalaya, beating Big Time.  But Big Time won the best screenplay, and it should since it’s one witty and funny film.  Heck, it’s even so much better than Pinoy Blonde!  I also recently got to watch Jennifer Aniston’s last two films (Derailed and Rumor Has It…), which were okay, but she’s far from pulling off a post-breakup success the way Nicole Kidman did.  And Cheaper By The Dozen 2 was fun fun fun!  I watched it with my siblings and cousins last week, an ideal movie for a family treat.

The Oscar season is in the air, and for sure more 2005 movies deserve to be in my list.  First stop, I’m watching the advance screening of Munich this Monday.  I can’t wait to watch another non-mainstream Spielberg movie.

Happy weekend everyone!  🙂
 

Munich, another Spielberg masterpiece
Thu, 09 Feb 2006 01:28:00 GMT
 

Kassovitz and BanaMunich (2005/Steven Spielberg).  If Crash presented a tale of hatred begetting hatred, Munich delivers a far more gruesome portrayal of the subject. A film with a sensitive and relevant topic only Spielberg can deliver, the Oscar nominated suspense is probably his boldest work to date. The story follows the aftermath of the massacre of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics, where Israelian Avner, played by Hulk’s Eric Bana, led a team of assassins in retaliation of the attacks. Their commander was played effectively by the intense Geofrrey Rush, while future Bond Daniel Craig, Amelie’s Matthieu Kassovitz, German actor Hanns Zischler, and Ciarán Hinds (Sum Of All Fears) played the hired assassins to complete the powerful supporting cast.

An unbiased account loosely based on a novel, the philosophy of the dogmatic, the profound, the straight-laced, and probably that of Spielberg, speak loudly through many characters of the film. We hear the Arab assassin’s concept of home, the tale of Avner’s mother on having a place on earth, the final conversation on peace and breaking bread among Jews, and more, each of which manifesting truths in a world where violence dictates politics, and politics dictates survival.

The movie demonstrates terrorism in the perspective of the terrorists, and the movie had a very talented actor to exemplify that – the eyes of Eric Bana. Man, those can really describe a soul that’s struggling between righteousness and brutality, between security and paranoia.

I was personally surprised that the movie is only rated R-13, given the straightforward gore of the sequences.

One of the many notable highlights was the parallelism between the scenes where Bana’s character was looking for bombs that didn’t even exist, and another, his colleague dismantling bombs they were supposed to use for their mission.

The last sequence of the movie, probably considered the climax to many, simultaneously showing a flashback of the murder of the athletes and the main character giving his wife another form of climax, was disturbing enough to acknowledge Bana’s great acting and the real world effects of the unceasing battle between nations and religion, affecting the terrorists themselves, the innocent, and everything in between.

As always, Spielberg successfully uses drama in a manner that doesn’t cross the borderline of being a drag and too emotional. From the first frame to the last, the movie is rich with vintage cinematography and editing; a friend even compared some scenes to the style of Hitchcock. Munich is one enthralling masterpiece, and definitely an instant classic.


I really wouldn’t mind Munich winning over Crash in the Academy, although I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain yet. (My bestfriend said she watched Brokeback twice though and claims she loves Ang Lee so much for that movie.) But then again, Munich is a winning experience itself, and I don’t think it requires a trophy to prove that. Shakespeare In Love won best picture over Saving Private Ryan, remember?
 

Lian Ramos: the next Miss Universe
Thu, 16 Feb 2006 06:17:00 GMT

Watch out for Ms. Lia Andrea Ramos this March 4, 2006 in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. Lian is one of the smartest and most cultured people that I’ve met. And to top it off, she’s a political science graduate in UP and works for an international organization that does funding for charity – just perfect for the Miss Universe crown!

Little side story: Last Valentine’s, while on a singles night out with other friends, the singer in the jazz bar thought that Lian and I were a couple. And I thought I’d never pass as a boyfriend to a beauty queen; my level has just been upgraded! Haha!
 

November 1, 2005

November 2005

Filed under: events,films,music,personal,photography,theatre — drei @ 12:00 am

Lazy Blog Entry
Sun, 06 Nov 2005 05:30:00 GMT

Once again, I’m feeling sorry for this blog for having only one entry in the previous month. I have had a lot of instances when I could have updated this blog, but unfortunately there’s completely nothing to write about. And if ever a moment comes when there’s something worth blogging, I stop the minute I sit in front of the desktop, either because I’m too tired to write or simply because I wanted to do something else. Thus, the pathetic blog with once-a-month entries.

movies

I was recently able to watch a couple of local films, The 40-year Old Virgin, and the sneak preview of Flightplan. Ilusyon was one of the neatest Filipino films that I’ve seen. The Cinemanila entry has a good story with dozens of artistic and philosophical undertones, making it very unique for a Filipino film. But I still don’t understand why a lot of critics rave for Yul Servo’s acting when I only see it as plain and mediocre. Masahista was great in using parallelism in its storytelling (even if the subject of prostitution and poverty isn’t new at all in Filipino films) and offered really good acting, but I can’t imagine how they consumed the 4M budget for a film that doesn’t seem really expensive. Ben, the production designer of the movie, told me much of the budget went to post-production. Even though there were a lot of tidy scenes and complicated editing, the visuals were honestly hard to appreciate since the movie was just converted from digital format for commercial release, and evidences of video compression can still be seen. I didn’t exactly find The 40-year Old Virgin funny, but it was enjoyable enough. I especially enjoyed the Kelly Clarkson joke, and Steve Carell was effective in portraying a loser with so many dead airs in the character, though he’s still far from being a Jim Carrey. And Flightplan was surprisingly entertaining. I just have one negative comment on the feasibility of the “plan”, which I can’t mention since it would be a spoiler, but I absolutely enjoyed the movie.

ang pokpok ng ohio

More than a week ago I also got to watch the CCP performance of Ang Pokpok ng Ohio. It’s about three unfortunate people and the dramas of their lives during one night in a corner of a busy metropolis. Irma Adlawan is truly a talented actress, and honestly I have to say it was the first intimate play that really moved me. The play was a fine adaptation; all three actors were terrific and the script was simply brilliant. And again, thanks for complimentary tickets.

company sportsfest

As for work, I’m the captain for one of the teams in the company sportsfest which will start this month. This should be fun since our sportsfest has lots of events which even includes modified sports, but then I also surmise that some days in the next few months will really be stressful. As they say, fun and stress always go together!

music

I’m currently enjoying the Unplugged album of Alicia Keys, and the 10-year anniversary acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill of Alanis Morissette. I also can’t get enough of Coldplay’s Fix You and James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful.


crush
 


41
 

grace is gone
 

Last night I was able to watch the first Dave Matthews Band Night in 70’s Bistro. I just think Dave Matthews Band is one of the best bands, and probably the best band to come out in the 90’s. And no other OPM act can cover DMB songs the way Bridge does. The poetry and the orgasmic beat were very much alive last night, as if Dave Matthews himself was singing onstage. Unfortunately my friend Rastem left the band to move to China with his other band Coffeebreak Island. He used to play the sax for both Radioactive Sago Project and Bridge. Oh well, so much for free entrance fees.

long weekends

My two long weekends were rather insignificant. For a week now I’m alone in the house because one housemate is in China for training, another housemate went home to his province, and my brother is in vacation for the semestral break. And to complement my being alone, I got a bad flu. So pretty much I had no choice but to stay home, and there was just so much room for lying around and watching marathons (I realized CSI:NY could be a better show than Vegas). No badminton, no tennis, no jogging. I wasn’t able to watch the Cinemanila. And I even had to cancel on the Galera trip my officemates and I were planning. But then again, I’m thankful I got to rest and save money.

Now I’m flu-free. The long weekends are over. And anytime today or tomorrow, one of my housemates and my brother will be back in the apartment. In other words, it’s back to the real world once again.

Have a good week ahead!

October 1, 2005

October 2005

Filed under: events,films,gadgets,personal,TV — drei @ 12:00 am

Wake Me Up When September Ends
Thu, 06 Oct 2005 15:59:00 GMT

Since I last blogged, I remember watching these films on DVD, in the Cine Europa, and in regular cinemas:

Bad Education (Spain)
The Sea Inside (Spain)
Nowhere In Africa (Germany)
Eating Out
Taegukgi (Korea)
Madagascar
The Spanish Apartment (France)
Kroko (Germany)
Red Eye
The Constant Gardener

If I had my own film festival based on the films I’ve seen during the past weeks, the Palme D’Or would definitely go to the Cine Europa French entry The Spanish Apartment.  This light film about a French guy who went to Spain to study and live in a multi-national apartment is one feel-good comedy.  It’s not visually stunning and I didn’t exactly like the supposedly profound ending, but I enjoyed the humor a lot, especially that I’ve lived in five different apartments since college.


  
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Spanish Film Festival is ongoing in Greenbelt.  I’m not that interested since I’ve already seen the feature films of the festival, The Sea Inside and All About My Mother, both directed by the talented Pedros of Spain.

My company is one of the major sponsors of the film festival, since it is a Spain-based IT and management consulting company.  It really feels good to be in a company that values culture a lot.  Did I also mention we get free Spanish lessons?


Speaking of work, the company also had a weeklong celebration for our 10th year anniversary.  Every day of the week wasn’t spared of a significant event, which was culminated by a formal party where we ended up jumping and dancing to a live band in our barongs, stuffed with beer, rum, and great food.That night I also won in one of the two categories of the photography competition of the company, which was really great since it boosts the ambitious photographer in me.  And the prize was even greater!


I also got to watch the Rex Naverette show “Badass Madapaka” in Megamall.  It was my first time watching him perform live, after only seeing him on TV and hearing his stand-up jokes on circulated audio files.  The show was really hilarious – thank God for complimentary tickets! I’m excited for the release of the DVD, and his new MTV show! 


During the last day of September, while my officemates were watching The Spanish Apartment after my (persistent) recommendation, I went out with some friends to meet the much-awaited Octoberfest.  After the free experience of Brownman Revival in Megastrip, we moved to El Pueblo where the actual beer drinking took place.  Too bad college friend Jelly (who’s now back in China) accidentally erased the pics we took that night.  Jelly, hope your quick vacation was worthwile!


Great news! I just got new season 2 episodes of Lost.  After their win in the recent Emmy Awards, fans are just damn impatient with the new season.  I’m planning to watch the first season all over again before I get addicted with the second season.Two weeks ago the new TV season kicked off in America without Raymond and the Fishers.  And while there were countless surprises and disappointments, NBC is still struggling in their post Seinfeld-Friends-Frasier era, while ABC shows were consistent like the previous season.  Being lost and desperate doesn’t seem so bad anymore.  I’m specifically excited with Lost, Desperate Housewives (which is rumored to expect angry fan letters because the writers are going to make Bree’s son do a very gruesome act to his mother), and the third season of Nip/Tuck.


My parents celebrated their silver wedding anniversary two weeks ago, but they’re renewing their vows this December since my brothers and I will be home for the holidays.  I’m officially the wedding planner, and I’m looking forward to the event.  I’m also polishing my video editing skills, and hopefully I can present a worthwile tribute to my parents.   And of course, I can’t wait to go home to Iligan! 


The ipod nano is out, and I’m not quite impressed.  The Creative neeon is way better for me, and it’s rude for Apple to use the brand nano when Creative used it first (with a capital N).  Hopefully Apple fixes their screen issue soon though, and not hear anymore angry ipod fanatics.  For now, all I care about is a new pair of rubber shoes.  I’m planning to get serious with badminton and tennis, that is, if I can make both sports work together.


September 2005 is a very sad month in this blog since it has only one entry.  Pathetic, I know.  I really really hope I can make creative entries soon, and not just film reviews and lame updates.  Or maybe I just love the Green Day song too much, and slept the entire September.  Hehe!

Have a good weekend everyone!  As for me, I’m taking a vacation leave from work next week to spend a long weekend in Baguio!  I’ll be participating in the wedding of ex-workmate Paolo, and of course catch up with good old Baguio friends.

Happy Octoberfest! Happy Sembreak! Happy Weekend!

September 1, 2005

September 2005

Filed under: films,personal,tennis,theatre,TV — drei @ 12:00 am

Culture Overload
Mon, 05 Sep 2005 10:47:00 GMT

waving williamsfrom Party of Five to Lost
favorite Lost characterRussel Crowe in the ring

Cinderella Man (Ron Howard). Last Friday I got to watch the advance screening of Cinderella Man since my brother’s fraternity sponsored the screening. The film was about the life of boxer Jim Braddock, played by the excellent Russel Crowe, set in New Jersey and New York during the Great Depression. The film is one good tearjerker, and a powerful one at that. The actors, all of which were tried and tested given their credentials, gave great performances. Paul Giamatti was perfect as the manager, Craig Berko was a real jerk as the main character’s toughest challenger, and Renee Zellweger was very convincing as the loving wife and mother.

In contrast to A Beautiful Mind, another bio-film also made by Ron Howard and also starred by Russel Crowe, Cinderella Man is a little inferior, given that it’s not as magical as the former, and that the climax of the new film was spread throughout. Like A Beautiful Mind, the movie is a compelling tale of human spirit, a genre Ron Howard has mastered since Apollo 13. And the love story between Braddock and his wife was crafted very well, that I even wondered if those two actors had already been together in another film before.

If Martin Scorcese used boxing to tell a story of a man’s destruction in Raging Bull, Ron Howard used boxing to show optimism and hope in hollow times. Though both films told real life personal accounts, Cinderella Man was more profound in terms of relating to history and the society.

As I’ve written before, Cinderella Man was not meant for summer release but should have been raced in the last Oscars, if not for Russel Crowe’s injury. Assuming it were able to make it, I still doubt it would knock down the other boxing themed film Million Dollar Baby. Cinderella Man may be powerful and inspiring, but Million Dollar was very piercing, and for the drama audience, I think it matters more. For summer releases though, I’m giving the bronze honor to Cinderella Man, after Batman Begins and Sin City. Which reminds me, the summer season is over in Hollywood but I barely saw great blockbusters this year and instead saw more disappointments. Oh well. Talk about great depression in Hollywood.

* regular showing starts next week in Metro Manila theatres

Lost, Season 1. I finished watching Lost two weeks ago but never had the time to comment about it. I should say I absolutely enjoyed the series – great production, perfect cast, and very engrossing story lines. Lost is about a bunch of aircraft survivors who got stranded in a mysterious island, with dozens of unexplained creatures and hallucinations. One very good thing about the series is the treatment of the characters. The drama is well executed, and many important characters were given heavy background. As a result, a lot of issues were actually tapped in the series, which happens to be an advantage of television series over full length films. Make a movie with independent issues of family, the society, the military, and the supernatural, and you’re accused of overkilling; do it in TV, and millions of viewers will be interested. At least it worked for Lost.

The series also injected a rather diverse mix of music. Shannon sang the French song La Mer to her new lover Sayid, Sawyer was humming a Bob Marley song when four of them left the island using a raft they built, and my personal highlight in the series: Hurley was listening to Damien Rice’s Delicate in his walkman before it ran out of battery. Of course, the series has a really good musical score, the recurring type that works like the scores of James Horner and John Williams.

Story-wise, the interwoven relationships and battles among characters were very captivating, that at times I wanted to cheer in front of the screen, as if rooting for a player in Survivor. On the other hand, the mystery of the entire plot was a little disappointing, especially that they answered only a small portion of the mystery in the season ender. There were actually dozens of mysterious subplots, that I wondered how the writers are gonna pull everything off. Think of a French lady stranded for 16 years ahead of them, a combination of numbers that were connected to the characters, a ladder that leads to the bottom of nowhere, an unknown creature that thrives underground, and other supposedly mysterious occurrences, which were spread all throughout the 26 episodes. At a glance, thinking that all those things happened would seem really stupid, but the way the creators mixed those with the personal stories and action stunts made the show really gripping. I honestly can’t wait for the next season.

* thanks to Shelley and Aldo for the episodes; season 2 will start end of September in America

Footloose, The Musical. Good thing I work in Meralco since productions staged in the Meralco Theatre has one free night for employees of Meralco and its subsidiaries (I have to emphasize ‘subsidiary’ since a lot of people confuse me as a Meralco employee).

The story of Footloose is about a new guy from Chicago who convinced a conservative town in doing away with dogmatic and rather unnecessary straight-laced rules. The musical used dancing as the primary analogy in the story, and gave a good 80’s feeling, with songs like Holding On To A Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boys, and of course the title track Footloose. The show I got to watch didn’t feature the so-called RnB prince in the country, Jay-R, but instead his understudy did the dancing and singing. And I should say the actor who played the part was good, and I’m guessing he may be better than Jay-R. Iya, though looked great and perfect for the role, and has a good singing voice, was terrible. She is a baaad actress and one very lousy dancer. Local productions should avoid picking famous people and do real auditions for lead roles. And please, not another MYX VJ since all their current VJs really suck. First was Karel in Beauty and the Beast, and now Iya in Footloose. Don’t tell me Heart will do a Mary Poppins soon; she would perfectly fit as the irritating umbrella.

On a positive note, Agot Isidro was surprising, since I never thought her voice can be powerful. Her original songs on radio were rather undemanding, but in Footloose, she was able to present a classical voice and fine acting. Audie Gemora was of course great, who was a highlight since the conflict of the story involved his character to a huge extent.

Aside from the lead actress, another disappointment was the dancing, since I didn’t get a Kevin Bacon feel, and somehow I think they needed a little refinement. But then the night I watched was not part of their regular run and was more of a final rehearsal, so the polishing of steps and production may have been absent that night.

* show runs on all weekends of September in Meralco Theatre

Sky High. Given that the other choices were two slapstick comedies, my friend Cel and I decided to watch Sky High. I had fun watching the movie, and the film felt like a teeny bopper version of The Incredibles. The movie is about a high school for superheroes, and the identity crisis of the son of the most popular superhero couple. The movie has all the formula for a typical teeny bopper, but that didn’t stop me from being amused. Of course it wasn’t as funny as The Incredibles or Mean Girls, but it was a good choice for a relaxing family movie.

Lynda Carter also starred in the movie, and at one point her character joked about being Wonder Woman, which I though was really hilarious. If you’re looking for a not so usual high school flick, this movie is recommended.

2005 US Open. The last grand slam of the year started last week, and the first round alone showed surprising upsets. For one, defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova lost in the first round. But the more surprising one was Andy Roddick’s exit after the first round, with an exciting score of 6/7 6/7 6/7. It was good though for my still favorite Andre Agassi since he’s the remaining American bet in the Men’s division. Agassi was fantastic, and made more than 10 aces in the first round alone. Promising Rafael Nadal lost in the third round, which was not really surprising for this 19-year old, who really is a master in the clay but still has unpredictable performance in the hard court.

Aside from the international favorites Roger and Maria, I’m also rooting this year for Venus Williams. Her comeback in the recent Wimbledon was really cool, and winning a second grand slam this year would be great. Just this morning she beat her sister in the fourth round, and for sure she’ll be meeting Maria in the semis.

* current games are already approaching the quarterfinals


  

It’s Monday once again. But I’m missing Monday blues at work today since I’m visiting the dentist to consult a weeklong disturbing toothache, and I need to catch some sleep due to minor hangovers from Shelley’s pre-wedding party Saturday night, and beer session with orgmates Novs, Edward, and Nikos Sunday night.

Shelley is getting married this Friday, and incidentally I was asked to be a reader in the ceremony. The last occasion I remember reading in front of the church was during the baccalaureate mass in high school. No big deal though. Congratulations Miss Yosi Girl!

Nikos just recently became a licensed engineer, while Novs is taking her engineering boards this month, and Edward next month. Yep, engineers in different fields. Last night they were actually studying in Seabest Katipunan when I came to drop by, but we ended up finishing bottles of Red Horse. I hope I wasn’t such a bad influence last night especially that two of them are taking their boards and one is taking graduate studies. Hehe.

Right now, three film festivals are ongoing: the Eiga Sai in Shangrila Plaza featuring classic horror films and free admission, the Cinemanga in Megamall featuring three anime films, and the advance screenings for Cinemanila in Greenbelt One. The actual run of this year’s Cinemanila will still be in October.

Red Eye opens this week. When I saw the teaser I thought it was probably the best teaser I’ve seen in Hollywood, but when I saw the complete trailer, my expectations somehow died down. I still wanna watch this movie because I want Wes Craven to redeem the mediocre Cursed, a supposedly good movie whose style got stuck in the 90’s.

Have a good week everyone!

August 1, 2005

August 2005

Filed under: films,food,personal,photography,TV — drei @ 12:00 am

Top 30 Films of All Time
Sat, 06 Aug 2005 16:00:00 GMT

More than two years ago, I made my list of favorite movies of all time and posted it months after as one of my earliest blog entries.  Now, after seeing more than a hundred new films, I updated my Top 30 Films list.

saving private ryan left the top 30 list dead poets society left the top 30 list crouching tiger left the top 30 list

Seven movies were taken out from the old list.  These are Dead Poets Society (Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, director Peter Weir), Quiz Show (Ralphe Fiennes, director Robert Redford), The Talented Mr. Ripley (Cate Blanchette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Matt Damon), The End of the Affair (Ralphe Fiennes, Julianne Moore), Saving Private Ryan (Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, director Steven Spielberg), Boys Don’t Cry (Hillary Swank), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zang Zi Yih, director Ang Lee).  I still love these great films, but seven other works I’ve seen over the past two years more deserve to be placed in my personal top 30.


eternal sunshine at #7 city of god at #13 kill bill at #27

First of those new seven films in my favorite list is Kill Bill Volume 1, the Quentin Tarantino masterpiece about a female assassin and her rollercoaster take on revenge and redemption.  The film is a celebration of filmmaking, displaying cool action scenes, mixed direction style, and a talented cast.

If the lesbian movie Boys Don’t Cry left my list, a movie with a similar theme is added.  The heartbreaking and heavy film Monster, which gave Charlize Theron an Academy award, is the biographical account of a prostitute who was sent to death row for multiple homicide, all of which she did for her lesbian lover.

If not for a friend in the UP Film Institute, I wouldn’t have seen the relatively old Iranian film Children of Heaven.  The critically acclaimed movie is about a little boy from a poor family and his innocent quest of replacing his sister’s shoes.  A very heartwarming and inspiring movie.

Also new in the list is Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together.  Considered to be his best work, this film is a very poignant love story set in Argentina which stars Tony Leung and the late Leslie Cheung.

Next would be the Brazilian film City of God, the grand prize winner in the Cinemanila 2003, and nominated for different awards including the Oscars.  This revolutionary epic about generations of drugs and violence in a Brazilian city is known for its cool editing, great cinematography, and heartless brutality.

The sixth new film in the list is the weirdly titled Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  This Jim Carrey starrer is about a couple who had their memory erased to deliberately forget each other, but still found each other’s love despite the scientific intervention.  This award winning movie takes us to an unconventional experience on love and fate, with a little sci-fi, lots of great artistic shots, and a perfectly written story.

And the last new film to make it in my top 30 is the dark indie film Donnie Darko.  The film is about a quasi-disturbed guy who discovers that his life may be a result of, or connected to, parallel dimensions and supernatural encounters.  A mind boggling noir set in the 80’s with a very cool soundtrack, this movie has a huge cult following and went straight to number one in my all time favorite list.


  

Here’s the complete updated list:
 

My Top 30 Favorite Films of All Time (As of June 2005)
 

30 Pleasantville

29 Cast Away

28 Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)

27 Kill Bill Volume 1

26 Monster

25 Fight Club

24 Malena (Italy)

23 Chicago

22 The Sixth Sense

21 Memento

20 Children of Heaven (Iran)

19 Gladiator

18 Trainspotting

17 Happy Together (China)

16 Beauty and the Beast

15 American Beauty

14 High Fidelity

13 City of God (Brazil)

12 Hero (China)

11 Amorres Perros (Mexico)

10 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

9 Samurai X: Romantic Tales from Meija (Japan)

8 The Matrix

7 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

6 A Beautiful Mind

5 Moulin Rouge

4 The Hours

3 Requiem for a Dream

2 Schindler’s List

1 Donnie Darko

(I would love to put commentaries in each of the films, but it’s rather difficult writing about thirty great films all at once.  In my future list, probably two years from now, I *may* be able to include commentaries.  Hehe.)


Cinemanila 2005 is coming!  This is one of the most important annual film events in the metropolis so try to catch at least a few great films in the festival.  Check their website here.


Exactly two years ago, I posted my first blog entry.  I may not be blogging now as often as I used to, but I still plan to maintain this blog as long as I can.  Life has just been really busy lately, and blogging is just difficult to squeeze in my schedule.  To those who still read this blog despite the minimal update, a very big thanks to you.

For two years, Man Of Mars had:

  • 36,025 hits
  • 131 blog entries
  • 1,367 comments
  • 6 mailing list subscribers

Here’s a happy 2nd Blog-a-versary to Man of Mars!
 
 

2005 Emmy Nominees
Thu, 11 Aug 2005 04:42:00 GMT

Here are the nominees for some of the major awards in the 2005 Emmys. Awarding will be on September 18.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Arrested Development • FOX
Desperate Housewives • ABC
Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS
Scrubs • NBC
Will & Grace • NBC

Outstanding Drama Series

Deadwood • HBO
Lost • ABC
Six Feet Under • HBO
24 • FOX
The West Wing • NBC

Outstanding Reality Program

Antiques Roadshow • PBS
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition • ABC
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! • Showtime
Project Greenlight • Bravo
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy • Bravo

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Amazing Race • CBS
American Idol • FOX
The Apprentice • NBC
Project Runway • Bravo
Survivor • CBS


  

It’s sad that CSI didn’t make it to the outstanding drama series nominations in their fifth season. But then it’s not really a big loss since the original crime series is nominated for a bunch of other awards including a nod for best director in the season finale. The fifth season of CSI is noted to have gone mainstream, using the music of U2 in their 100th episode and having Quentin Tarantino as guest director in the finale.

For drama series, I’m rooting for my favorites Six Feet Under and 24 all the way, though I’m still halfway in the last season of 24. I’ll be getting the rest of the episodes next week. I’m also currently enjoying Lost, but will still have to finish the entire season.

And Everybody Loves Raymond should win best comedy series, not because it already aired its last season, but simply because the show is just becoming better and better over the past few years. I know I haven’t seen the last season since the DVDs in my dad’s collection are just the first few seasons, but I’ve read really good reviews. I enjoyed Desperate Housewives, but wasn’t totally satisfied with the way they ended the first season.

Enjoy the movies TV! 🙂

 
 

Travelling Movies
Sun, 14 Aug 2005 13:05:00 GMT
 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one fun family movie. This movie remake of a Roald Dahl adaptation tells the story of the owner of a strange chocolate company and the poor kid who got to win a special trip inside the factory. It felt like Baz Luhrmann making a kiddie film, complete with all the fascinating musicals and disproportioned sceneries. I especially enjoyed the singing numbers of the Oommpa Loompas, and of course the colorful production design of the movie. It’s not really a great must-see movie, but if either you enjoy eccentric film productions, or you’re a fan of Burton and Depp, or simply a kid at heart, go see this movie!

Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta, 2005) was an absorbing movie, but I must admit some parts bored me. Based on the journal of Ernesto Che’ Guevara, it tells the accounts of the road trip of a young Guevara and friend Alberto Granado. At some level the film was informative – from Guevara’s family background, to the interesting history of the Incas in Peru, to the cultural differences among South American countries, and finally to Guevara’s vision of a united America. The film also got to capture great images of the American suppressed people (literally and figuratively), making you feel you’re actually watching a documentary reported by Guevara himself. Personally though, I think the film lacked convincing on how the ideals of Che had come about from all the encounters in the trip. If the narrator in the movie hadn’t become the famous Cuban revolutionist, the film is just as good as any other Discovery Channel feature.

Somewhere in Time is one film I wanted to watch for so long. Good thing my housemate owns a video, which I borrowed months ago but only decided to watch last night. It is the very popular time traveling movie, and the only other movie I know of that stars Christopher Reeve other than the Superman series. The film is foremost a love story, so the scientific details of the time traveling part is useless to analyze. It’s more Forever Young than The Time Machine. The story is about a playwright in the 80’s who went to the past to meet the love of his life. When the writer left the actress in 1912 and returned to the present by accident, the lady started to lead an empty life until she died in the 70’s. And as with the writer when he returned from 1912, he felt empty too, desperately wanting to return, until starvation killed him. There really wasn’t much conflict in the story, and in the end the main characters were happily reunited in the afterlife. I agree that love is a truly great emotion, but then starving oneself or feeling empty for over 60 years, must be an exaggeration only the movies can justify.


  

Last Friday night, some friends and I surprised our friend Skeeter on the eve of her birthday. The night started with chocolate mousse and wine, and ended with beer and chips. The real party though will be next weekend, when Mighty, Skeeter, and my brother Doms celebrate their birthdays altogether. (The number on the cake was blurred for obvious reasons.)

skeeter's surprise
mighty, skeeter, peewee, lian, doms, and naldz

the birthday cake
skeeter in pajamas

happy birthday skeeter!
happy birthday!!

Last Friday night I also got to watch parts of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory since Skeeter and her siblings were watching it in her place. It must be revolutionary during its time because of the effects and treatment, but then the new version has a better characterization of Willy Wonka. It’s really amazing to watch movies of the same concept but done in different times.

Enjoy the new week everyone! 😉

 
Missing Baguio: Bacon at Cafe By The Ruins
Sun, 21 Aug 2005 08:20:00 GMT
 


bacon at cafe by the ruins

 

I would have been in Baguio this weekend for the wedding of old housemate Allan, but I had to help last night for the birthday party of my brother and two other friends. The party was great – good food, lots of people, great music. There were even bands who performed last night, and lots of booze!

Another friend in Baguio is getting married soon anyway, so I’ll sure be going back to the mountains and eat loads of homemade bacon and strawberries.

It’s also weird to know that now is the time when friends in my generation are getting married. Last week a good friend from high school got married. Today my housemate in Baguio. Next month will be the wedding of classmate, workmate, and friend Shelley. And October will be ex-officemate Paolo’s. I should get that master’s degree fast before my life will pass me by! Nobody’s getting any younger. *sigh*

But for now, all I care about is the Belgian Film Festival in Megamall. Hehe.

Good day everyone!

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