Monday, November 23, 2009

The end of the world

I recently watched 2012. I heard from practically everyone else who watched it that's it's awesome. Best disaster movie ever, they said. So why is it that I left the cinema feeling shortchanged? LOL

(Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you don't want to know details of the movie)

Actually, I do have one other friend who watched it and didn't like it that much either. I wouldn't say it's a bad film though, I'd still recommend people to watch it. The effects are obviously fantastic and the action is pretty edge-of-your-seat for most of the film. And any apocalyptic disaster movie will always invoke feelings of courage and triumph.

But there are too many components in the film that I took away from my enjoyment of the film. First, there was just too much "impossibility". As with most movies, suspension of disbelief is required. But in 2012, I found myself thinking that the lead characters had way too many lives. A stretch limo maintaining top speed even as it drives over one massive crack on the road after another, a beginner pilot successfully able to navigate two planes through the most difficult of conditions, an ark filling up with water successfully able to escape certain destruction, the lead character being under water for a long time after hitting his head and still making it out alive. I dunno, it just felt too over the top for me.

Then, it was too convenient. Here you had John Cusack and Amanda Peet being a divorced couple, with Amanda in what was portrayed to be a very good relationship with her new guy, Thomas McCarthy. Even her son thinks the world of her new partner. Naturally, John being the lead character in the film has to end up with Amanda. But with Thomas being a good guy, it would be awful for Amanda and John to end up together. So obviously the film kills off Thomas's character and naturally the two lead characters pair up again in the end. Of course, everyone else who died were people who were not as important, or people who were painted as evil. How amazingly lucky that every lead character goes through the toughest of circumstances and makes it alive. Too convenient!

And finally, the choices made in the film. You had an ark filled with thousands of people who were surely safe. You had thousands of people stranded outside the ark who would surely die (their ark was damaged and couldn't be used). Then they had 15 minutes left before a massive tsunami would hit them. Of course, they call it cruel to leave all those stranded people to their certain death. So with 15 minutes left, they open the doors to save the stranded people, and with some twist, the ark doors won't close and so the tsumami floods the ark. They manage to save the ark in the end, with seconds left before total destruction, so obviously it can be argued that the decision they made was correct. But in real life, if I was in a position of authority in that ark, with 15 minutes left before the tsunami would hit, I probably wouldn't open the doors anymore. If I wanted to open the doors, I would do it 1 hour, or even half an hour, before. They knew early on that one ark was broken, they should've decided then to split the people across different arks. Oh wait, it wouldn't be as exciting in the movie if they did that.

So yeah, great effects, lots of excitement, but not my favorite disaster film. But compared to other films I've seen this year, I'd pick a lot of other ones over this.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Allison from SYTYCD Season 2

My favorite contestant from all seasons of "So you think you can dance" is Allison Holker from Season 2. She was touted as a contender for the title, but was surprisingly eliminated during Top 8 week.

And so it's not surprising that one of my favorite solos in the show is this performance she does in Top 14 week.

video uploaded in youtube by user namnambaby

This number clearly demonstrates Allison's fluidity and athleticism (especially in that incredible sequence of movements she does from 0:15 to 0:24, awesome!!) and the fact that she showcases her athleticism so effortlessly makes her talent even more impressive.

How she didn't make it further than she did is beyond me. I personally feel she was robbed of at least a finale appearance if not the overall title. She apparently performed as a dancer in both High School Musical and High School Musical 2, and she is only 21 years old so I do hope she ends up with an amazing career in dance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Congratulations, Manny Pacquiao!!!

It's his 7th different world title on his 7th weight class. Manny Pacquiao just made history with his amazing victory over Miguel Cotto, cementing his status as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

Congratulations, Manny! You have made Filipinos all over the world very proud. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something old, something new

Last Saturday, my high school friends (Iona, Joyce, and Mitch and their significant others) and I decided to celebrate Iona's birthday by having dinner in Trellis in Kalayaan. It was actually Mitch who decided on the venue, saying she was craving for sisig and lechon kawali. I honestly don't recall the last time I was there but it must've been about a decade ago. Man how time flies!!

So over dinner, Iona asked us if we have tried eating in Adarna, a restaurant also along Kalayaan. I told her that I hadn't eaten there yet but that I saw it while trying to find parking. She said the food is gourmet Filipino food and that we should try eating there someday. I suggested that maybe after dinner we could have dessert there. I recently re-discovered hot chocolate - the Pinoy/Spanish kind, and not the milk chocolate-y type - so I was in the mood for some hot chocolate. Everyone seemed keen on the idea so once we polished off the last bits of mango KBS, grilled pusit and sinigang na baboy, we headed to Adarna.

The restaurant is decorated as if it were an old Spanish-Filipino house, with different dining areas in the different rooms. We sat in what seemed like the living area, and while it wasn't air-conditioned, it has these large ceiling fans that allowed us to keep cool. We ordered a few dessert items and while most of them got kape barako, I decided to get my hot chocolate (and man, it was very very good!). Even the china they used was really quaint (and we noticed that men and women were served different cups and saucers). We hung out there for a while before calling it a night. I would certainly want to go here again and have a full meal instead of just dessert.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cynthia Alexander

So I've been hearing about Cynthia Alexander - and how incredible an artist she is from so many of my friends - for years. But for some unexplained reason, I never got around to watching her perform or listening to her music.

And so when my friend Lala invited me to watch Cynthia's gig in Conspiracy on Halloween night, I immediately agreed. And then I realized what a shame that I discovered her music and talent only a week ago. This woman is truly an amazing artist and I instantly became a fan!

She closed her show with this song entitled "Comfort in your strangeness". (This video wasn't taken from the gig I watched but it was taken in the same venue where Cynthia performs every so often).

video uploaded in youtube by user iRaRosales

Lala tells me this is like the 'National Anthem' of Cynthia country and I can understand why. It's probably my favorite of all the songs she performed that night. But all the songs she played are incredible, and my goal now is to get all four of Cynthia's albums soon. I am also looking forward to watching her next gig, and a lot more gigs after that.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Finding my way to the cinema

It wasn't quite a New Year's resolution but this year, I made a decision to watch more movies in the cinema than I have in the past. So far, so good. I've managed to make my way to movie theaters a lot this year, and the last few weeks are no exception. Movies seen: 'Julie & Julia', 'G-Force', '(500) Days of Summer', and 'Astroboy'. I also managed to finally watch 'A very long engagement' on DVD. I got the DVD a long time ago, but as I knew it was a heavy film, I never really got around to watching it up until last long weekend. It was a bit difficult to follow as there were many characters whose faces were muddied up a lot and were hard to recognize. Plus, there were some unfamiliar names that made it more difficult to attach the name and the face. But it is a great story, with excellent acting and amazing camera work and cinematography. Definitely worth a watch.

Every other movie I watched in the cinema recently were fairly light. I absolutely loved '(500) Days of Summer'. Definitely a story about love, but not a love story, I really did how the story was told - moving back and forth across 500 days - and I also thought the script was very well written. I also really loved 'Julie & Julia'. How could I not? It featured Meryl Streep once again putting in an incredible performance. It also brought together Meryl and Amy Adams again (with their other big film together being 'Doubt'), although they actually had no scenes together in this one. Will Meryl be nominated again? Maybe not for an Oscar, but maybe for a Golden Globe.

The other two movies I watched were more for kids. I just had to watch 'Astroboy' because I was a fan of the animated series back in the day, watching it on channel 9. It was definitely entertaining, but of course there were some weird concepts in it, like on how Astroboy was created. But apart from that, it's some cool animation and good fun. 'G-Force' was also a lot of fun, and the story was surprisingly good, with a pretty cool twist in the end.

I might catch Michael Jackson's "This is it" on the weekend. My nephews have indicated they want to watch it and I've heard it's worth a watch so let's see.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

F1 weekend in Singapore

So a month ago, I flew to Singapore to watch SG Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was my first time to watch a race live, and the fact that it was a road race at night made it even more interesting to watch.

The atmosphere in SG was electric, what with a lot of parties and concerts. I was hoping to catch the F1 Rocks concert in Fort Canning Park with Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas on Saturday night but it was sold out. I did, however, get to see a few other shows. Travis performed in F1 grounds on Saturday night so I watched them instead. On Sunday night, I saw the Backstreet Boys perform about 5 songs before I left. And on my first night in SG, my friend Tim took me to an Underworld party in Suntec City.

The main attraction of course was F1. Two things you can't really pick up when you watch on TV are just how fast these cars go, and exactly how loud they are! When you enter F1 grounds, there are booths that sell an F1 survival kit which includes a poncho (in case it rains) and ear plugs. I decided not to get ear plugs so I could experience the race fully, and man oh man was it deafening!! I took a video of the cars once the race started, and while the sound volume doesn't quite translate, the blurry images of the cars as they whiz by indicate the incredible speed at which these vehicles are moving.

I was of course rooting for Jenson Button and Brawn GP to do well, and while neither JB nor Rubens Barrichello had a podium finish, both of them scored points. It was the other British driver, Lewis Hamilton, who took the trophy.

Of course, despite the busy race schedule, I still managed to meet up with my friends and do some shopping. On Saturday, I had lunch with Che, Marc, Gi and Pau with their son Gabe.

On Monday, I had lunch with Sarah in Raffles City. Then I bought a 500Gb external HD, a 4Gb thumb drive, and a card reader in Funan. Then I joined Ben mid-afternoon near Far East Square as he had a very late lunch while I just had a Coke Zero before heading to Plaza Singapura to have coffee with Jed. I ended the night having dinner then coffee with Denise, Yong Han, and Sandy in Dempsey Hill. Before heading back to Manila on Tuesday, I made my way to Novena to have breakfast with Kog.

So another awesome weekend made even more fun by friends. The downside is that I am now really short on funds, what with a couple of international trips in the last few months LOL. I definitely won't be spending any money on travel in the next few months! :)