Friday, December 23, 2005

Eh-hum # 79

(December 23, Friday) Nag-text si Lin...bakit kaya?

I thought it was an emergency...thank God it wasn't (and It was the first time I laughed while using the office phone...which, by the way, is not something you should do on a daily basis); she was just asking my "permission" to watch King Kong...alone. While at the mall, I've also asked her to do some last minute christmas shopping...for the 'rents. In doing so, I ran the risk of telling her where my secret stash of cash is (since she put me on speaker phone, my brother heard it as well; I can now picture him drawing a map leading to the "hidden treasure").

Sure, I said, afterall, me being busy at work and the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), this the last chance she could watch the mega ape movie remake by Peter Jackson. Perhaps I could catch the movie at HBO in say...two years time. Eh-hum. Speaking of movies, I was again suppose to write something down on Hayao Miyazaki, however, since I already mentioned the MMFF, might as well say something about that and my thoughts on Pinoy flicks and stars in general.

The last pinoy movie I watched was Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, which I watched with my brother. I found the movie bittersweet, compelling and funny...and most importantly, original. Moreover, this movie showed what correct casting can do for a film and potential (and existing) movie stars. An example would be Ping Medina, who I would say is the anti-Pinoy mainstream star. Just in case you have been sleeping under a rock, Pinoy TV shows and movies have been dominated by mestizos and mestizas; you can rarely see a tanned actor or actress taking the lead. In this case, Nora Aunor is an exception, whose physical attributes is the opposite of the luminous screen idols during the Sampaguita days.

Well, its one thing to be a mestizo, how about acting wise? Unfortunately, I have observed that its okay that you will ultimately burst a vein while trying to convey a simple emotion, just as long as you are pretty (the term is actually applicable to both girls and boys). Packaging is important, talent can be a bonus. Today's teenage stars are dominantly tisoys and tisays, having at least a kolehiyala accent (much better if they came from abroad, with a Western pedigree to boot) and must belong to a loveteam. Going back to Mr. Medina, perhaps he can proved that one needs not have chestnut brown hair, rosy white complexion and a loveteam partner to make it big in the Pinoy entertainment scene. Of course, that is not to say that he does not have a certain appeal. Like his father (remarkable and yet underrated veteran actor Pen Medina), he has that "something"...whatever it is, I cannot explain it in words. Basta.

Aside from hiring them for their looks, the trend of becoming an artista via reality shows is I think a poor way of choosing future stars. I prefer the old fashion way: study the craft and hone your skills in either the stage or the rising Pinoy indie industry. I think reality shows does not bring out their real capabilities (or lack thereof) in acting/singing since text voting by (future) fans is such a huge percentage. Plus, the tasks given are more like dares. Another concern are the movies themselves. Some of the plots are ripoffs from Western/American films (my example would be that movie with Maricel Soriano and Cesar Montano with a plot similar to True Lies). Did I need mention my disdain for the fantaserye Encantadia which copied sacred elements from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillon? It is increasingly evident that the storylines and dialogues are inferior to the special effects (like Exodus starring Sen. Revilla). It is unfortunate that some plots are already overused that one can actually predict how a movie or a tv show will end. MMFF is more of a popularity race that an exhibition of quality films. Hello, floats with their stars waving, throwing out goodies to the public. A few years back, I remember this film about AIDS who entered the MMFF who had no float and was not given much attention. Gimme a break, they should rename the MMFF as a Family Movie Festival...since movies on realistic themes such as AIDS have no place.

Why does this bother me? It somehow reflects that type of society that we have here; one which values what is pleasing to the eyes and caters to our mostly quixotic sides. Moreover, the industry has given emphasis on movies that would rake in a lot of money by hiring pretty but untalented actors and loveteams. And please, don't get me started on those sexy stars. What could save this? How about smart moviegoers/consumers and the Pinoy indie scene. When we watched Ang Pagdadalaga, less than half of the cinema was filled. For it to get noticed, the movie needed to receive awards abroad. With movies like these being ignored, one should not be surprised why I would rather watch King Kong.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eh-hum # 78

Again, I would have to delay my piece on Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki and his works. However, this (short) post still rides on the theme of Asian films; more specifically, Asian actresses.

One of the movie being talked about is Memoirs of a Geisha, based on an internationally acclaimed novel by Arthur Golden with the same title. Many are interested to find out if the movie can match the intense storytelling of the novel. While I have not read the novel, I am very much curious about the life of one of Japan's enigmatic figures (aside from the samurai). Aside from that, I guess people are interested to see if the three Chinese actresses cast as in the lead roles can measure up. I think Gong Li can (I suddenly got interested in Farewell My Concubine), but how about Zhang Ziyi?

I think Zhang Ziyi is one lucky girl. With two movies of epic proportions under her belt (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the House of Flying Daggers) topped with obvious oriental beauty and grace (she's a dancer), I am not surprised why she was cast in the title role. However, I am not a fan of Zhang Ziyi (who actually looks like Pinoy model Nicole Hernandez), even though I think she's okay.

If there's one Chinese (Taiwanese, Hong Kong, uh, ese) that I like, its Zhao Wei. People may recognize her from the action flick So Close and the amazingly funny Shaolin Soccer. I first saw her opposite Andy Lau in this martial artsy-period movie. I would say she is uniquely beautiful, thanks to her expressive almond-shaped eyes and full lips. Moreover, she has worked with a number of popular Chinese leading men and has managed to measure up to their intensity or quirkiness (good examples are, again, Andy Lau and funnyman Stephen Chow). Like most Chinese/Taiwanese actresses, she has an album. I think the lady has a lot more to offer acting-wise being a well-loved personality, aside from being exquisite and "giga-dorable". Hopefully, we'll be seeing more of her in the big screen outside Asia.

Zhao Wei Posted by Picasa

Another thing, Japan's entertainment industry should consider promoting its actresses in the near future. I am sure, they have some talents worthy of international attention.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Eh-hum # 77

I was suppose to write something about Hayao Miyazaki and his second Oscar nomination, but the events that occured yesterday and the day before that were too important to be ignored. Plus, the controversy is begging for an opinion. I am all for investigations on the alleged poll fraud in the 2004 elections; being someone who is rendering her services to this institution, it would be for my peace of mind whether or not my efforts are putting into good use by the Government. Moreover, I would like to contribute to the improvment of our country, in terms of national defense and security.

Here goes...

While I have no hard evidence to prove it, it is somehow inherently understood that politicans cheat every elections. I hate to admit it, perhaps Erap was one of those who most likely did not cheat. However, he won base on his popularity as a movie actor, not because he has the political will to become the coutry's top leader. I refuse to believe that this drinking, womanizing, gambling and "pa-godfather effect" individual is the right person for the job. In this case, since PGMA is not the popular one in the last elections, it is possible that she rigged the results. On the one hand, you could say that the campaign machinery of the Lakas-NUCD is no match to the obviously divided Opposition. There are a lot of explanations why PGMA won, whether analytical in nature or just simply that she cheated. The leaders may change in every elections, but one thing is constant: nobody loses in elections; they were cheated.

The "Hello Garci" controversy raised questions on PGMA's legality as the Philippine's leader and caused the creation of several organizations to 1) call for her resignation, 2) go to streets for her ouster, 3) file impeachment complaints and 4) just want the truth to be told (whatever that means, really). As expected, this is a wonderful opportunity for the Opposition to gloat, and perhaps for some of the PGMA's allies to switch places not really based on principle, but on saving their assess if and when her administration crumbles. Its unfortunate to say that the people in Congress prefer more to attend hearings and show-off rather than see to it that their constituents are getting their services. This is basically what I saw in the hearings.

If I compare the hearings in the House and Senate, I think the latter was more progressive. In the House, the congressmen, particularly in the Opposition, did not get much from Garci, who can be described as a veteran bureaucrat or just simply a really good liar. I for one am a little confuse with the purpose of the hearing; it wasn't about wiretapping, it was about the election fraud (maybe ANC should change their headlines as the House hearings progress, or not) by PGMA. I got this impression through the questioning of Rep. Alan Cayetano, who was not really interested with the wiretapping issue (how and why the alleged conversation was recorded) as he decided to show rigged ERs and his other evidence and demanded Garci to explain (again, he did not get any). Focus people! Though I know they are connected, but just one step at a time, are all too excited to kick La Gloria (term used by Maximo Soliven) out of office.

The Senate seems to have more progress. Sen. Biazon has somehow kept this more organized; he explained that the hearing was to know how and why the Commander-in-Chief was wiretapped and who did it. Unfortunately, the wily Garci was absent, but COMELEC Chair Abalos was there to answer their queries. The Senators behaved themselves, with the exception of Jinggoy Estrada who simply repeated the questions raised by Franklin Drilon. I somehow felt sorry to the Shariah judge that took a beating in the hearing. He was obviously not prepared to answer the questions of the Senators (and Jinggoy’s “panunuya”; very unprofessional); but he should have just said the truth. On the other hand, the Senators did not faze Abalos, who kept his cool the whole time.

There were the things I was thinking while listening to the hearings:

1. Grandstanding politicians. Not really asking relevant questions; but just wanting to say something, anything in the hearings;
2. Who cares where Garci has been. What’s important that he is here now and answering our questions;
3. The idea the President is the ONLY one who cheated in the elections. HELLO? It does not mean just because you belong to the Opposition, you have clean hands;
4. The relevance of these hearings. We’ve had hearings on Jueteng, Ping’s Drug “Addiction” and Triad Activities, Pidal Case, Kuratong Baleleng…and NOTHING HAPPENED. Am beginning to think that these hearings are just an excuse to have free catered lunch and instant photo ops;
5. The “para sa taong bayan” line from the politicians is losing its appeal and sincerity;
6. How are the solon’s pork barrels; and
7. What the hell is the First Couple thinking?

As PGMA's ratings drop (again, why am not included in this survey?), anything that she does now will be disregarded. Coming clean will be difficult (and I doubt that she will) and by some divine intervention that she did rigged the elections, she should succumb herself to the law. And I am now praying for a more suitable leader to replace her as the Opposition will have a grand time "suggesting" who should.

Hope that made any sense. Next time, Miyazaki. Whew.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Eh-hum # 76

Again, kapag may (blog)writing block, mag-quiz nalang...hehe

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.