Monday, February 28, 2005

Stairway to Heaven Soundtrack...

Ok, here are the soundtracks na kinababaliwan ng lahat na Stairway to Heaven. Actually, sobrang unrealistic and melodramatic ng series na ito but still, pinapanood pa rin nating mga Pinoy... We love entertainment more than anything else I guess!


Pag-ibig Ko'y Pansinin


Review Corner:

Untold Scandal (Korea) - Very open minded but the problem with this material is instead of being a serious plot driven film, sex became a comical joke with bland characters... (B-)

Shall We Dance? (US) - Fantastic entertainment, I love to see J Lo dancing, she's more free as a dancer rather than being an actress (B+)

Vera Drake (UK) - I've never seen such true and impressive performance from an actress since Naomi Watts (21 Grams) last March of 2004. Imelda Staunton astoundingly portrayed an image of a modern woman who doesn't want to give up the voice of her consiousness... One of the biggest welcome of 2005 and one of the best British movies of the year... (A-)

The Uninvited (Korea) - I am amaze by how horror flicks from Asia show the immaturity of bland American horror productions. The film is beautifully shot and very creepy although it suffers from weak storytelling and plot... (B)

2046 (Hong Kong) - Okay, I am not done with this Cannes film but it is very evident that this is one of Wong Kar Wai's wild impressionistic work written in a very poetic and intelligent manner, once again he fused the past, present and future ala "In the Mood for Love" (... to be continued, honestly the first 40 minutes is pretty boring)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Final Oscar Predictions...

Final Oscar Predictions:

Last year, I have predicted all of the winners in the major categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supp. Actor, Supp. Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay)… Now it is different, this is the most unpredictable Oscar season for the past years especially for Picture and Director Categories.

Most of the national film critics predicted that Million Dollar Baby will be this year’s winner since early reports say that AMPAS voters selected this movie as their choice.
But can Million Dollar Baby win the trophy by solely taking home the Directors Guild of America (DGA) award? No movie ever won the Best Picture without taking at least 3 or 4 major guild awards. The LOTR: Return of the King won 12 guilds just like American Beauty (ACE, ADG, BAFTA, BFCA, CDG, DGA, GG, NYFCC, OFCS, PGA, SAG, VES), Chicago won 8 and A Beautiful Mind won 5. Million Dollar Baby as Best Picture doesn’t make any sense or else this is one of the weirdest Oscar year.

Best Picture: The Aviator, winner of 5 guilds and makes more sense (BAFTA, GG, ACE, PGA, Cinema Audio Society)
*Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
*Best Actor: Jamie Fox, Ray
*Best Actress: Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Best Supporting Actor: Clive Owen, Closer
*Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
*Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
*Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Sideways
*Best Animated Film: The Incredibles
Best Art Direction: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Best Cinematography: A Very Long Engagement
Best Costume Design: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
*Best Documentary: Born into Brothels
*Best Editing: The Aviator
*Best Foreign Language Film: The Sea Inside (Spain)
Best Makeup: Passion of the Christ
*Best Original Score: Finding Neverland
Best Original Song: Shrek 2, Accidentally in Love
Best Sound Editing: Spiderman 2
Best Sound Mixing: The Aviator
*Best Visual Effects: Spiderman 2

The Aviator: Possible 4 out of 11 Oscar nominations in the Awards Night…

* Tama ang hinala ko hehe (12 out of 21), not bad pero last year 18 out of 21 e

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Likes and dislikes...

There are certain details in my everyday life that are not worth writing, may be because they are too obvious, habitual, weird and distinct as my identity. But now I'm writing them down; my simple pleasures and annoyance in life...


I love to see someone almost made it to the elevator but eventually he/she didn’t make it. The same applies to the LRT Train sliding doors.

I love the smell of newly printed newspaper in the morning and of course, the smell of the gasoline in the Shell or Petron stations.

I like to remove the tag price sticker of a newly bought item without tearing it apart.

I enjoy playing with a bubble wrap.

I like to place my hands beneath the big container of rice grains.

I like removing both ends of sitaw (I don’t know the English term for this vegetable) and see the long fiber strands removed from it.

I am always carried away by a bigger sister little brother relationship in a TV melodrama.

I like the feeling of hardened glue in my fingers.

I like to see the clouds of creamer in my coffee when it begins to sink in the water.


I hate to see someone looking when I’m writing my signature.

I don’t like to see parents being humiliated by other people in front of their children.

I hate peeing next to someone in the restroom.

I hate it when the bomb explodes right at the back of the lead actor in an action movie.

Follow up; I hate it when the protagonist has diffused the bomb with only 1 or 2 seconds left.

I hate overhearing the word 'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust'.

Review corner

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Phantom of the Opera - Ok at last, I've seen another musical after the 2002 Oscar winner Chicago. Surprise, it earned nods in the Golden Globe and Academy Awards which is quite surprising. This film, sad to say has been overrated by film critics may be because it is very seldom for a certain year that Hollywood produces musicals.

Phantom of the Opera is entertaining enough to satisfy both fans of stage and film around the globe although it is overly long and failed to transform stage elements into film medium well. The timing, beat and charm are not that convincing compared to the other musicals like Moulin Rouge, Chicago and Evita. The non- stop series of musical numbers have prevented the plot and character development of the movie.

It is wrong to say that this film sucks. Phantom of the Opera is far from being a bad material and far from being a great one. The art direction and the costumes are still impressive and not to mention, Emmy Rossum gave a decent performance. Phantom of the Opera is a Hollywood film which rides along with the greatness of the legendary story of love, devotion and madness. (B)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Epekto ng pagiging bench

(3:40 PM, AIM Transcript real-time conversation)

plmknight: roll off na ba tayo bukas
CLBalisnomo: sana
CLBalisnomo signed on at 12:52:18 PM.
plmknight: liberate yourself from desire and you'll find that you already have everything you need
CLBalisnomo: heheh thanks
plmknight: oks
plmknight: what, do you think of this, I think it's naive but it has sense: "Hope in reality is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man.-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche "
plmknight: funny naman tong sabi ni Socrates; "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
CLBalisnomo: hahaha kze
CLBalisnomo: u'll gain more realization
plmknight: hahanap at hahanap ka ng reasons sa mga piss off na nangyari
CLBalisnomo: as u liv wd d person
plmknight: haha
CLBalisnomo: hahaha exactly
CLBalisnomo: kelangan mong i-psyche un sarili mo dba
CLBalisnomo: hahaha
CLBalisnomo: sino ba mas maraming alam sa mundo? dba un mas maraming experience at problemang napagdaanan hehehe
plmknight: oo nga, grabe magkakaugnay yung mga quotes
plmknight: oo tama
CLBalisnomo: honga
plmknight: "It's OK to want things as long as you don't get pissed off if you don't get 'em. Right? Life's hard. It's supposed to be. If we didn't suffer, we wouldn't learn a thing, you know?" --Before sunset
plmknight: yan ang sagot dun
CLBalisnomo: sasabihin ko plng dpat na un mga quotes parang related hahaha
CLBalisnomo: ehh un na nga eh.. it's impossible not to get pissed if u like that something
CLBalisnomo: kaya tayo napipiss kze we worked for it and un HOPED for it
plmknight: oo cynic ba yung statement?? haha
CLBalisnomo: hahahah cno ba nagsabi nyan?
plmknight: kill hope kung ganun!!!!!!!!! hahhaha
plmknight: si jesse
CLBalisnomo: kala ko un girl eh
CLBalisnomo: hehehe
plmknight: kita naman sa character niya yung pagtatakip palagi e
CLBalisnomo: ahh yeah
CLBalisnomo: well dun sa last portion ng statement
CLBalisnomo: again jinustify nya
plmknight: oo
CLBalisnomo: dba
plmknight: marami siyang contradictions
plmknight: and the more yung contradictions sa ating statements, naiipon yung sakit nun... hhehe
CLBalisnomo: hahahaha
CLBalisnomo: kze isa yan sa sakit ng tao
CLBalisnomo: nde natin alam ang gusto natin
CLBalisnomo: lahat gusto ijustify
CLBalisnomo: dont u get the feeling na mas madalas malungkot?
plmknight: oo habang tumatanda lalo na
plmknight: buti pa nung bata
CLBalisnomo: dba
plmknight: oo
CLBalisnomo: it's because dumadami un desires d kaya?
plmknight: oo? I love your theory
plmknight: we feel really alive when w want something more than just basic survival needs
CLBalisnomo: hehehe
CLBalisnomo: malay mo roland sa tok nating to..we will be able to come up with somthing dat cud batlle ol our barbarians , sadness etc. without having to shoot down our hopes n desires
CLBalisnomo: si mike nagbbasa
CLBalisnomo: isara mo


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What is truly wanted?

Taken from the independent sci-fi movie 'Primer':

What is essential?

Air, food, water, shelter, safety... Done.

What is wanted?

Friends, wife, child, home... Done.

What is truly wanted?

Money? Done.
Power? Done.
Knowledge? Done.
Reputation? Done.
Time? Done.
Control? Done.
Justice? Done.
Wonder? Done.
Praise? Done.
Clarity? Done.
Freedom? Done.
Faith? Done.
God? Done.

Again, what is truly wanted?


Monday, February 14, 2005

Barbarian Invasions... (mini-essay)

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“Intelligence is not an individual trait; it is national, collective and intermittent…”

I’ve been thinking about this theory for months now. I’ve encountered this quote from the movie Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasion Barbares), a French-Canadian film which tackles about the different things that invade our lives, it can be physical, meta-physical or simply a principle, state of mind or thought.

Yeah, this is true especially in a subjective point of view. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates were at least present for almost the same centuries (470-320 BC), and intelligence was there. For this period in the Greek History, literature and the whole civilization has reached the height of its artistic influence.

How about us the Filipinos, have we kept our intelligence alive for years, decades or centuries? Hmmm, when the Spanish colonialism finally succumbed to the Americans, we had our brains intact, that’s why we fought and set ourselves free. But when Uncle Sam ruled, we are dumb after losing it for decades up to the Marcos Regime. Thank God, our intelligence came back and brought us into our rightful places when EDSA revolution happened, but how about now. Yup, we still have intelligence but we are continuously abusing, polluting our borrowed and even our own principles. I hope we never lose it especially now when we most need it…

Ooh, forget it, those are just theories…
Talking about the Barbarian Invasions, currently, what are my personal barbarians?

1. Food, food and food. I might have hypertension again and surprise, it could be diabetes…
2. GT Tower, oops, I mean an earthquake, I am in the 26th floor of this building and I don’t want to get sandwiched…
3. Bus… just last night, 3 buses just exploded, and it can be the LRT… if only I can avoid these modes of transportations.
4. My family, neighbors, officemates, former classmates… sometimes they say undesirable things but they don’t mean it!!!
5. Philosophical thoughts… at high school, call me an idealist, classicist and pragmatist. But now I am a realist, expressionist, sensual socialist and glad to hear from the world of Marxist-Leninist (where goes my romanticism?).
6. Myself, sometimes I don’t know what I fu@#ing want… Things are not the way I wanted to be…
7. Tsunami, typhoons, asteroids, air bourne virus, war, capitalism, materialism, skepticism, all kinds of -ism, hehe...

Hehe, but I want to imitate the Great Wall of China within me, they have managed to secure the purity of their race and culture for centuries; I want to keep the Barbarians outside my perimeter, driving undesirable things away or if not, I have to learn how to co-exist with them but keeping my own interest in mind. This is the only way to protect my little permeable life and soul intact together.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Yi Yi (Taiwan) and Delicatessen (France) (2/12/05 VCD)

Yi Yi
Yi Yi, a film which gave Edward Yang his Best Director award in the 2000 Cannes film festival is a kind of movie that is nice to see with a cup of coffee together with a friend.
This Cannes movie is more of a soap opera rather than a feature length film. The characterization is complex but intelligently developed towards the end of the film. Yi yi, is all about family relationships, its highlights, up and downs. Marriage, temptation, infidelity, insecurity, death and most of all love, this film has came up with its own sweetness because of its dialogue and actors. Although the pacing is pretty slow, you’ll ride along and be one of them. Sitting in my room for almost 3 hours of watching this Taiwanese film, it is a poignant journey of bittersweet relationships in life. (B+)

Delicatessen, a movie won numerous awards (French Cesar) is one of the first films directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet and yet, the most experimental one… Like Amelie and A Very Long Engagement, Jeunet introduced the elements of sex and violence in a painted fantasy or surreal world. The movie touched sensitive issues such as the aspects of morality in our present sociological conditions. The attempt is pretty brave and creative but the film suffers from ambiguity on what is the real implication it wants to convey to the audience. Jeunet used both extremes of childish fantasy storytelling accompanied with some music and humor up to the most unexpected scenes of hostility and cynicism.
Jeunet once again engaged us into his world of dream, and the ordinary day of glowing sunlight (duh), this is no Amelie in giving charm and enchantment to the audience. (B-)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Run Lola Run (02/10/2005 VCD)

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Run Lola Run: Another certified German Hit!!!

Lola Rennt is a major critical and commercial hit around the globe after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last 1999. I've been 6 years late since this film amazed the indie/foreign market in Germany, Europe and even the United States, plus this is the film that gave Franka Potente (Bourne Identity/Supremacy) her road to stardom and credibility as an international star.

In the opening credits of the film, I know that this one will be different, director Tom Tykwer has envisioned a modernized art of filmmaking. Run Lola Run has a clever magnificent film editing, cinematography and a very strong storyline. The film is surrounded by what if, it showed us that in answering our own questions, it will definitely give us the answer but this answer will lead us to the same question over and over again. The backdraft of this film is divided into 3 outcomes, each is limited to 20 minutes of decision making, each events will cause a drastic change (domino effect) to the lives of people around them. Lola Rennt has the same context with The Butterfly Effect but the plot is stronger and more remarkable. For me, the best aspect of this film is the embedded techno-musical score. It is just so perfect, appropriate in creating an intense, full of energy atmosphere especially when our lead character Lola is on her way of running and choosing her destiny.

Oh my, what is it with German Films?

Along with Good Bye Lenin!, Run Lola Run is a true German classic, witty, intelligent and dynamic... (A)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My Oscar Predictions...

It's been a year since LOTR: Return of the King made a very predictable awards season last year because it swept every award giving bodies and guilds as major precursors in the Academy Awards.

Best Picture:
This is one of the weakest year for best picture nominees... just like the 1989 set of nominees, but anyway, because of politics and big stars, Howard Hughes autobiography will definitely get it...

Who will win: The Aviator
Who should win: Sideways, come on, give chance to the indie market...

Best Director:
I am still confuse on who would it be... but since the Directors Guild of America and the Golden Globes decided, yeah ok...

Who will win: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Who should win: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator - My God, he's been around for 3 decades and NO OSCARS???

Best Actor:
Who else, is there any competition?

Who will win: Jamie Fox, Ray
Who should win: Jamie Fox, Ray

Best Actress:
Once again, it is Bening and Swank collision after the 1999 battle but Swank is getting a lot of buzz for the second time but I still hope for a miracle...

Who will win: Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Who should win: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace

Best Supporting Actor:
Oh God I have no idea, it's a three way battle... the critics love Thomas Hayden Church, the Hollywood Foreign Press loves Clive Owen and the Screen Actor likes Morgan Freeman...

Who will win: Clive Owen, Closer
Who should win: well i really don't care but, Thomas Hayden Church of Sideways

Best Supporting Actress:
Once again, the critics love Virginia Marsden, the Hollywood Foreign Press loves Natalie Portman and the Screen Actor likes Cate Blanchett...

Who will win: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator, come on give it to her, because she was robbed by Gwyneth Paltrow last 1998 awards...
Who should win: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

Best Original Screenplay:
This category is predictable but Vera Drake is a real Darkhorse...

Who will win: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Who should win: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Wow, what else but this years sleeper hit ala Lost in Translation...

Who will win: Alexander Payne, Sideways
Who should win: Alexander Payne, Sideways

Best Foreign Language Film:
My favorite category even though the Oscars are dumb jurors in this category, let us put it this way, we have a frontrunner which is The Sea Inside from Spain, but watch out for The Chorus of France, it is a certified audience charmer... and take note of our darkhorse, The Downfall of Germany, Hitler has a lot of appeal from the critics but in a controversial manner....

Who will win: The Sea Inside, Spain
Who should win: The Sea Inside, Spain (14 Spanish Goyas, record breaking in Spain!!!)

That's all!!!

Azumi (2/9/2005 DVD)

Azumi is definitely a major treat for male audiences...
I don't think that this movie is a good epic, but it is definitely worth watching because of Azumi. From the start of the film, the ensemble is flat, character development is pretty slow. The protagonist cannot support the dramatic and emotional power needed by the film. The plot lacks strength in showing the socio-political condition of the society on that time especially the power struggle or Tokugawa era. Unlike Twilight Samurai and Zatoichi, this film didn't give emphasis on the very colorful japanese History.

The production design is very good as well as the gory scenes because of the impressive make-up although there are certain moments when the film uses sloppy CGI images to execute heavy fight scenes. I have also learned to set aside my rationality for a while because this movie contains cartoon logic instead of a very realistic or surreal images.

This film contains many flaws as far as the detail is concern but still, this is a good source of entertainment especially for all male audiences out there... (C+)

Korean Telenovela: Hay palaging may amnesia...

Sobra, I am currently watching Stairway to Heaven and Save the last Dance ba yun, parehong may amnesia, well well well, kahit naman noong nauso ang mga Mexican soap opera puro amnesia na rin, kasi mas magiging madali ang lahat.

Una, ang hirap kaya sa writer na pahabain ang story kapag di mo nilagyan ng amnesia, habang mataas ang rating, meron pa yan pero kapag mababa na, makakaalala na yan kung sa local soaps. Pero ok din naman di ba, tutok pa rin tayo sa TV kahit na ganun.

Pangalawa, mas maganda kasing lagyan ng friction ang mga characters kung hindi na gigive away ang lahat ng information ng plot, yung tipong unti unting natutuklasan ang mga sikreto at hindi super biglaan.

Pangatlo, daan kasi yan para makapag-introduce ng bagong character sa koreanovela, bagong memory, bagong experience, bagong raket at definitely bagong love interest...

At siyempre, dahil yan ang hanap ng masa bukod sa mahirap na inapi at biglang yumaman, siyempre samahan mo pa ng amnesia, mega Box office na yan hehe...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Recently reviewed films (2/9/2005)

The Grey Zone (B-)
Mixed to Negative, a little bit exaggerated and lacks fundamental details
Infernal Affairs 2 (B)
Mixed, not as good as the first installment
Infernal Affairs 3 (B-)
Mixed to Negative, weak story line but still favorable
The White Dragon (C)
Negative, stupid backdraft and acting
Oldboy (A)
Very Positive, something new, inventive and important
Love is a Many Stupid Thing (B-)
Mixed to Negative, almost good but not quite
Men Suddenly in Black (B-)
Mixed, it has certain moments of funny scenes
A Clockwork Orange (B+)
Mixed to Positive, Stanley Kubrick is the master but a little bit moronic?
Carandiru (B+)
Positive, very timely and important
Windstruck (B)
Mixed, good, this is OK
Existenz (B-)
Mixed to Negative, Nice idea but weak storyline
Sleepover (C-)
Very Negative, one of the worst teeny movie of the year
Jersey Girl (C+)
Mixed to Negative, tries to be a crowd pleaser but it' not...

OK, Its hard for me to review this films one by one, so here they are, I'll just pick feature films, perhaps the good ones...

Good Bye Lenin! (My Best Picture of 2004)

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2004 is my craziest movie year so far... I have seen all 166 of them from my collections, cinema houses, and video city rental stores. It is funny that I picked a German Comedy to be my favorite last year. The premise is pretty inventive:

Capitalism + Communism = Comedy --> Just like the Rip Van Winkle story, watch it and you'll see...

GOOD BYE LENIN! is a comedy of a bittersweet kind. It showed the complexity of life amid the weightlessness of freedom, enticement of westernization, and the burden of abrupt change. Set against the historic collapse of the Berlin Wall, the movie pleasantly integrates comedy of situation, irony of fate, and the quarreling alliance between reality and the heart's decree, hence picturing a fundamental tale of being. Famed German caliber of production, affecting cinematography, soundtrack, and leading/supporting performances all chip in to the reaching of tender moments of connection between wordless language and feeling, the visual and sensory, love and life. Indeed, one of the most remarkable contributions in the European artistic cinema, a beautiful and heartwarming movie… (A+)

My Top Ten List for 2004 looks like this:

1. Good Bye Lenin! (Germany)
2. In America (US)
3. LOTR: Return of the King (US)
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (US)
5. Dogville (Denmark)
6. About Scmidht (US)
7. Barbarian Invasions (Canada)
8. Cold Mountain (US)
9. 21 Grams (US/Mexico)
10. Nicholas Nickleby (UK)

3-Iron (Bin-Jip) (2/7/2005 DVD)

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3-Iron won the Silver Lion and the Little Golden Lion award for Kim Ki-Duk in the recently concluded Venice International Film Festival. Now, I know why this Korean Film is creating too much hype and it is a darkhorse for my 2005 Top Ten List...

I am suprised about the greatness of this film because I'm just expecting an ordinary eastern arthouse material. I found this movie very entertaining in such a way that it delivers such gentle, silent, subtle performances from its actors. The lead actor Jae Hee didn't speak althroughout the film. The film is beautifully shot showing a fresh insight of a true oriental filmmaking. The direction of Kim Ki-duk is excellent in maintaining the spirit and mood of the film, although it is ocassionally funny and quirky. The premise of the movie is quite simple, but Kim Ki-duk pulled off his artfulness in order to come up with a very philosopical, metaphorical and surreal depiction of a young mans desire to cheat and eventually mix dream into reality in order to acquire the answer to his longingness for love...

I'm not quite sure if this film will be noticed by the Western audiences, I mean the North Americans because the Europeans did... but what is important is that this film has something to show about the influence of eastern philosophy and spirituality... (A)

A Very Long Engagement (2/6/2005 SM Manila)

I've read an article saying that in this film, "Amelie goes to War". In some degree, it is correct. A Very Long Engagement is an epic like the "English Patient" which tackles the same classic theme about the absurdity of war and undying love. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a very talented director where he can easily paint different colors, impressionistic expressions to his works, we have seen that in Amelie. A typical story of a boy meets girl turns out to be a French classic...

In the beginning of the film, Jeunet used his random narrations once again and his quirky sense of humor to introduce our main characters. There are practically green jokes and some intelligent humors all around. In this semi-detective/dramatic story, we have seen the horror of killings and mass murders. The strong anti-war message of this film produced a conflict to the humor posed by the plot. I knew some humor-driven movie such as No Mans Land (Bosnia) which is actually a dark comedy, and Life is Beautiful (Italy), a bittersweet classic. In A Very Long Engagement, it is hard to justify the implication of the central story in terms of its humor...
Anyway, it is negligible, the movie has a breathtaking scenematic landscape for its production design, and amazing cinematography. French actress Audrey Tautou is very good in controlling her emotions to avoid being overly melodramatic. The script is well written and the ensemble is a credible one.

Overall, the film is very successful in giving its anti-war message theme which can easily resonate to different audiences around the world. A Very Long Engagement may not achieve the greatness and "classic" status of Amelie but still, it is one of the biggest welcome movie of the year... (A)