Friday, August 28, 2009

Mar Roxas' subliminal campaign

Maybe this will work better than those TV ads.

Sly dog...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why Noynoy?

I can't be the only one disturbed by the sudden increased perception of Noynoy Aquino as a potential presidential candidate.

There's an image on today's front page of volunteers soliciting signatures for a petition endorsing Noynoy for president. The workers are wearing a yellow shirt with the tagline "the legend lives on", and the stylized signature image of his father.

It's one thing to have a romantic notion of the son following in his famous father's footsteps, but Noynoy Aquino has nothing else going for him.

Let me be clear, I have nothing against Noynoy. But the fact is that he has done nothing to deserve his current position of prominence, or even his current seat in the Senate. He has no greater qualification than that his mother was once President of the Philippines, and nothing to offer the country aside from a perceived inflated sense of moral righteousness. No outstanding leadership, initiative, or vision.

It remains to be seen whether the media's fixation on Noynoy corresponds with an actual wave of grassroots support, but the idea of it is disappointing. The Philippines needs more than just another poetic twist in its unending soap opera.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Valkyrie is a movie about a bunch of good Germans who plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II. If you are spoiled by my giving away the ending-- that they are unsuccessful-- then you probably aren't the type that would be interested in a historical thriller in the first place. It ends with a montage of all the protagonists being executed, or executing themselves.

The movie itself is well-made enough, but here's a different question: Who wants to watch a bunch of people fail to kill Hitler?

I hear the upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds, is about a bunch of people who plot to kill Hitler and actually succeed. I find the whole concept of it absolutely delicious. Now that's the kind of thing I'm interested to see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Full Metal Jacket

I've seen four Stanley Kubrick movies before. The only one I can say I liked was Dr. Strangelove. The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey were way to bizarre for me (especially the latter). And Eyes Wide Shut was just bad bad bad. But in spite of his mixed record I continue to give him a chance, holding out hope that I could still be pleasantly surprised and finally realize what everyone else sees in him. And even if I don't, at the very least I'll know what other people are talking about.

So, Full Metal Jacket. Very awesome first half, very average second half.

The first half deals with a bunch of US marine recruits undergoing their training under drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, who surely became the archetype for all sonofabitch drill instructors hence. This hour is quiet, haunting, captivating, and feels like a great movie. Years from now, this half is probably all I'll remember.

The second half has those marines serving in the Vietnam War, experiencing all sorts of horrors and adventures. This part feels like a different movie, and it stumbles from a lack of focus. It's a collection of scenes which, taken individually, seem right at home in a great movie. But collectively they go in all different directions with little coherence, little connection to the first half, and the climax brings up a new theme that comes out of nowhere.

I look forward to the movie that awakens me to the essence of why Stanley Kubrick is held in such high regard. The first half of Full Metal Jacket probably came closest to that goal, but a forgettable and uneven second half tarnishes its record. There may or may not be a movie out there that gets me to put Kubrick up on my mental pedestal, but this does not quite seem to be it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fun with Photoshop and Bananas

This is what I was doing last night until 3AM:

Special thanks goes out to the pen tool, the cutout filter, and Google image search!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cory Aquino, 1933-2009

"The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity," Cory Aquino said early in her campaign against Ferdinand Marcos.

Indeed, no one questioned her sincerity. Indeed, her presidency offered little else. But she offered the right message for the right time, resuscitated the Filipino sense of identity and pride, and momentarily weaved history into some sort of fairy tale.

The rule of decorum in such matters is to speak only good of the dead. I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of making it sound like she was a perfect president. She didn't put an end to corruption, or poverty, or instability, or hopelessness. Her record of success was mixed, at best. But I don't think it diminishes her legacy to say that-- far more than her accomplishments in six years as president-- she's a greater gift to our country as a symbol of restored democracy, and the best we can do is to keep that memory burning.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

See my comments on Order of the Phoenix from two years ago. My criticism there applies even harder on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Generally faithful adaptation but extremely disjointed. Too many unessential scenes adapted from the book as fan service, yet nearly incomprehensible as a stand-alone movie. Case in point: In the end, Snape reveals he's the "Half-Blood Prince"-- with no explanation that his father is a Muggle and his mother's last name was Prince. The only way this revelation would have meaning is if you read the book.

It had its moments, but I think I liked this Potter film the least.

My current ranking of movies is as follows:
  • Goblet of Fire
  • Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Chamber of Secrets
  • Sorcerer's Stone
  • Order of the Phoenix
  • Half-Blood Prince
A disclaimer: My experience with the movie is probably affected by the fact that the state of Dumaguete's current movie theaters is completely unacceptable. Three power outages occurred during my viewing, including one during the climactic confrontation of Draco and Dumbledore. All together I spent 15-20 minutes sitting in darkness and waiting stupidly for the movie to continue. Add that to blurry visuals, muffled sound, poor air-conditioning, and a guy in the back sobbing loudly in an argument with his girlfriend... Even if the movie was brilliant, I would hardly notice.