An almost-story and an almost-vomit

31 01 2008

Count on a cup of green tea, a string of Tori ballads, stalking successes, and a possible, totally random first sentence for a short story (with references to forearms and knees, two anatomical favorites) to bring me tonight into newer heights of emotional paranoia (whatever that means).

After stresslessly securing an NBI clearance earlier this afternoon, I headed to the movies. At one point inside the cinema, Cloverfield almost made me vomit, although not in the same sense as Crash (a portmanteau of Crap and Trash) once did. I thought it was a bold (dumb, yes, but bold) film, brave enough to deprive audiences of necessary explanations and a satisfying ending. Unlike Bourne Ultimatum’s camera work, which your sense of balance can eventually get used to, Cloverfield’s warrants extra preparations (entering the cinema with an empty stomach would be a good idea) to endure messlessly its nauseating but fun 84-minute run.

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TGIF

25 01 2008

The best way to spend a Friday night is to be in the middle of a three-person, three-hour meeting that resolved maybe three  out of the thirty things that need resolving.

In other news, the best film I’ve seen released in the last 5 years is receiving very good reviews.





Kala, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

21 01 2008

Very few artists can match the range of sounds heard in M.I.A’s sophomore record, Kala. From the chicken-like sounds in Bird Flu to the machine guns beats in the chorus of Paper Planes to the hypnotic, Bollywood-inspired Jimmy, it’s a postmodern electro mix of ‘Third World’ music.

Spoon’s 2005 single I Turn My Camera On is a pop-rock classic. In spite of its silly title, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the band’s latest release, is similarly addictive. Among the highlights are the piano pounding in  The Ghost of You Lingers and the B&Sish brass in The Underdog.





A Grateful Grapefruit

19 01 2008

Finished a thesis first draft. Thank God I can read fiction again. And watch movies. And get drunk.





Best of 2007 (Updated)

13 01 2008

FILMS

10. Away From Her (Sarah Polley) Julie Christie will win another Oscar.

9. Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg) Viggo proves he has range and shows he has balls to play a London chauffeur with a Russian accent.

8. The Host (Joon-ho Bong) Godzilla meets Little Miss Sunshine meets environmental politics with a dash of Korean humor.

7. The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass) Think of it as one continuous action sequence, and you’ll get its genius.

6. Lust, Caution (Ang Lee) An underrated/understated epic with plenty of lust and even more caution

5. I’m Not There (Todd Haynes) A bold, surreal experiment celebrating the chaos and contradictions of Bob Dylan, incarnated as six different personas (an actor, a black child, and a woman among others)

4. Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino) An evil Kurt Russell, kickass femmes and an awesome awesome car chase

3. Once (John Carney) – A musical without characters breaking into song in mid sentence. A romance without a contrived ending. Music without pretension.

2. Ratatouille (Brad Bird) A portrait of the artist as a rat

1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu) A bleak, minimalist, tense, gripping and painful Cannes Palme d’Or winner, 4 Months… represents Romanian film making at its finest.

Others who almost made the cut: This is England (adolescence and skinheads in Thatcher’s Britain), American Gangster (entertaining from start to end), The Edge of Heaven (identity, love, fate and duty), Foster Child (understated acting and long tracking shots are a welcome change for Pinoy films), Superbad and Knocked Up (two Apatow comedies), Sweeney Todd (the bloodiest and most disgusting good musical), 28 Weeks Later (more gore and zombies!), The Simpsons Movie (spider-pig), Endo (the real Cinemalaya gem), Persepolis (animated film about the Iranian Revolution!)

Probable additions (once they reach our shores): Oscar front-runners set in Texas No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Juno, Atonement, Michael Clayton, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Worst: 300 (annoying), Apat Dapat, Dapat Apat: Friends 4 Lyf (wasted opportunities), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (same old, same old). Probably not Anak ng Kumander though, with a line like “Kalabaw ang ninakaw, kalabaw din ang papatay,” what’s not to love?

BOOKS

Best reads:

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon: more than just a novel, it’s an experience

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller: prose that juxtaposes the beautiful and the ugly, the crude and the poetic

Light in August by William Faulkner: master of language and form

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth: hilarious

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky: first part of an unfinished masterpiece

I, Claudius by Robert Graves: Roman excesses and madness can be addictive





A Hundred Toasts

9 01 2008

I know I should be pressing words here, but pictures are more than enough. Let’s celebrate! UP is turning a 100 this year!





1987

6 01 2008

Here is a photo that survived the damaging powers of Reming:

Things to note: lamination was the in thing then; I had a preference for collared shirts even then; my hairline was beginning to recede even then; and most importantly, I was incredibly good-looking even then.