Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cold, Cold Hollywood.

FILM THREAT'S FRIGID 50: The Coldest People in HOLLYWOOD 2004

Well I can see why Michael Moore is listed number One. He has experienced a very dramatic reise in popularity and dramatic fall from grace all within one year. Note also that some new filmaker named Mike Wilson is making an anti-Moore doc called “Michael Moore Hates America” and appears to be getting pretty popular.

Anyway, I was just tired of making a list myself, so enjoy your weekend...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Movie Review: "Saw" (2004)

Out of the woodwork, somehow, a movie just suddenly springs out of the darkness and grabs you by the neck and demands “Watch Me!!!” , Saw is one such movie.

Internet geeks from all over the world were raving in the message boards about how freaky and twisted this film was. I was very very intrigued. After having seen Miike’s psycho-feminist thriller Audition, I have gotten a renewed asphyxiation to the thrill and excitement derived from a good scare. Call it my next step to degeneration, heck I just wanted another dose of spurting blood and dismembered body parts!
The movie begins with Adam (Leigh Wannel) as wakes up in a bathtub full of water in the middle of the dark. He emerges from the tub as the water drains down and starts to shout for help. A voice in the dark emerges “ I’ve tried it, it doesn’t help”, it says. Then the lights turn on giving Adam’s barely enough time to contract as he squints into the light. Across the dirty, crusty, feces streaked tile floor from him is a sprawled corpse and pints of blood oozing from its head. On its right hand a tapre recorder, on the left a gun. Still further across from the room is a man, pale and tired. His hand was the one who turned on the light switch. He is chained to a large sewage tube. So is Adam.
Did I just spoil the movie for you? No. I just gave you the first 3 minutes. What follows is another 90 minutes of pure horror fan eye candy.
First of all, this movie is no Se7en. It is often compared to it. Even the local ads give a hint that these two protagonists have less than “seven” hours to fix their problem. Se7en is miles ahead of this one, though it IS in the same vein.
For the next two hours I was either giggling, surprised, at a point even shocked. But I was never terrified or disgusted (One scene involving Adam putting his hand in the diarrhea filled toilet was pretty close though). Cary Elwes as Dr. Gordon, the other guy chained to a pipe. was funny even in parts where he wasn’t supposed to be. I always remember him as Robin of Loxley in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
Too much emphasis on the flashbacks and back story kind of made the story a little less appealing for me, although the story did depend on it. I didn’t mind hearing the two main characters talk for hours in the seedy room describing their back stories instead of a seiries of “off” flashbacks, which made the flow of the movie seem like a car go chitty-bangbanging as it ran out of gas.
I have to say that the concept is brilliant, though. Two men, being played by a psycopath in a dirty isolated bathroom for two hours can make for good arthouse fare. Sadly. This isn’t arthouse.
The finale execution redeemed the entire movie. A perfectly timed twist in the end, for a moment, made my already made preconceptions on the movie dissapear. I was very impressed.
All in all, I still, to this day can’t point my finger on it . But there is something off about this movie that’s keeping it from becoming a potential legend in the ranks of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Se7en. Other than that, go see it!

Click here to see the ultra cool "Saw" website.

Rocketboy's Rating: ** (2 out of 5)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

They're Gonna Play Bas-Ket-Brawllll!!!!

While everybody is still talking about the last Pistons Pacers game/rumble. Lemme' link you to the website that gives you more than your daily dose of basket brawl. is a website dedicated to the latest basketball fiasco (and NBA PR nightmare) that happened in the Palace at Auburn Hills ( The Detroit Pistons’ homecourt) when Pacers Forward Ron Artest “obviously” fouled Pistons Center Ben Wallace to the tune of a big whopping smack upside Wallace's afro during a lay up with 45 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, which resulted in a melee between the two players. Well, you know the rest...

The site also contains streaming video of the incident, articles, as well as, SURPRISE! More Pictures!!!!


Friday, November 19, 2004

Movie Review: “Santa Santita” (2004)

"Madaling mambola, mahirap magdasal"
- Malen, "Santa Santita"(2004)

Faith is a very funny subject to talk about in the Philippines. Faith is manifested in so many mundane and quirky ways that faith itself becomes a marketable commodity. One place that exhibits this uniquely Filipino behavior is the merchant’s capital of the Philippines—Quiapo, where everything is for sale, even faith. This is the setting of Laurice Guillen 's “Santa Santita”.
Expectations are high for Unitel Pictures' follow up to the critical and commercial hit “Crying Ladies”. It is also surprising that they chose a project that is not backed by a major bankable star. Angelica Panganiban, who plays the movie’s main character Malen, is, not yet an established star. One would remember her as the feisty QT from the daytime telenovela “Mangarap Ka” but other than that, she’s a staple for obscure roles for teenybopper shows and cheap commercials. One would often refer to one of the greatest Filipino films ever made, “Himala” by Ishmael Bernal when referencing this movie. Although virtually in the same vein, "Santa" carries it's own with a more modern take on an age old topic of religious hypocrisy and personal unworthiness.

The story revolves around Malen (Angelica Panganiban), a young daughter of a Quiapo church devotee (Hilda Coronel) who asks for donations from people asking her to pray for them. Malen’s rebellious nature is a large source of distress for her mother, which escalates when Malen meets Mike (Jericho Rosales) a drifter who drives his own car-for-hire and earns through other ‘services’ as well. Time comes when Malen needs to replace her mother at Quiapo church in selling prayers. Malen, gradually realizes that all of her prayers for those asking for them, are being answered. People then flock toward her and ask her to pray for them and becomes a perrenial ‘Santa’.

One of the more notable performances in the movie is Johnny Delgado as the recuperating priest conflicted by the worldliness of his alcoholism and the eminence of his calling. Delgado balances both the dignity and disgrace of a recuperating priest with great ease being the seasoned veteran actor that he is. His ‘drunk uncle’ persona makes him perfect for a role one would respect and doubt at the same time. One would also notice that he also played a priest in “Crying Ladies”.

Great movie! I walked out of the theater very satisfied. Here’s why:

From the baroque-mural-inspired opening credits I could tell that Filipino cinema is at a turning point. Cinemadom and the powers that be are finally realizing that Filipinos are smart enough to sit through a movie with lots of talk and little starpower without having to throw in breasts and sex.

For once we are to be a witness to the development of a movie actress the way she should be developed. Through the extraordinary opportunity of a groundbreaking role, not through veejaying and being grilled in the spotlight by bald bespectacled talentless freaks of nature.

This may be the best sound engineered movie I have ever experienced. I sat at the balcony to experience the full effects of the speakers. During the dioalogue between the nun (Cherry Pie Picache) and Malen during a healing session, you could hear the chanting prayers of the devotees in a different track in the theater’s back speakers. I was like “holy crap, is there someone doing a novena in the projector room?”. This made the scene even more eerie and unsettling. I would normally ignore this if it were a foreign film, I guess I’m just excited by the possibilities of this development on future Filipino films.
Finally, although there were a few ‘dead spots’ in the movie, the continuity and rising action of the story was pretty consistent. I was actually waiting for the disappointment of the story falling flat on its face some time during the middle up to the end of the movie, as I have experienced in almost ALL recent Filipino movies. I was pleasantly surprised that the story held it’s own to the end with no sickening melodramatic climax.

From a standpoint of national pride, I love this film. How this is going to fare globally, I don’t know. I have definitely seen Hollywood and other international films which have garnered acclaim and recognition which are more inferior than this in every aspect, that’s for sure. We just need to get recognized. We have to bring back the days of Jaguar and Insiang, when Our directors were actually considered worthy for a spot in the Cannes Grand Jury. I hope we’re on our way.

Rocketboy's Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Weird Stuff That I've Eaten

Ok, enough of the serious news. Let’s have some worthless junk for a change.

Many times in our youth we have been told by our mothers not to do stuff. “Don’t take candy from a stranger”, “Don’t play with fire”, “Don’t look at your uncle’s ‘magazines’”, but the earliest thing you are warned not to do is not to put certain things in your mouth.
We all went through it. We have eaten some things we shouldn’t have when we were babies or toddlers, probably even after we’ve grown old enough to know what’s edible or not to, you know, find out how it tastes.
I have eaten my share of weird stuff all these years, some not so weird, just uncommon. Some of them very common but not very many people would like to admit that they eat it. Some of them are actually very cool. Some of them are just plain gross.
Here I shamelessly bare my previous untold secrets of Stuff I’ve Eaten!! In the tradition of The Sneeze’s Steve, Don't Eat It! You may taunt me all you want. I am man enough to admit my eccentricity and willingness to experiment. This is all true.

I still don’t drink alcohol, though.

Raw Noodles- crunchy and satisfying. Noodles taste ok even if they are not cooked. Screw those seasoning packets, they’re nothing but MSG and little bits of celery and artificial flavoring.

Milo-Who hasn’t snuck in the food drawer and stolen a scoop of Milo every now and then. My mom would very frequently asked me who took a big scoop off of the half empty Milo jar. I would of course say, “mmm-mmm” shaking my head, not noticing the brown smudges in my mouth.

Nido Powdered Milk- You think I was happy with eating just the Milo? No way. Powdered milk is just as satisfying, it’s a little more messy, though. Once my sister made me laugh with a spoonful and a half full of Nido inside my mouth which eventually found it’s way on her face.

Dog Meat- I’m a dog lover. I would never hurt a dog much less kill it for food. I am also a food lover. And if I am really hungry, as you probably already figured out, I get really experimental with my food. I had my share of dog meat twice in my life. Once in a remote Bohol farm and another time with a Korean friend in Angeles City, who cooked it like stew with lots of peppers and shared it with us without telling that it was, in fact, not beef. Dog is, in one word, stringy. What sets it apart with your everyday variety of meat is that it has a very significant aroma which is easily masked by spices.

Raw Oysters- Oh, what I would give right now for a platter of oysters. Better yet, I would enjoy it more buying it straight from a fisherman on a big piece of rock with all the shells stuck together. Give me a knife or a screwdriver (something for me to pry those suckers open) and I am made. I once ate at Dampa with my friends and I made them give me all their shells. To their surprise, I was able to discover more oysters in different parts of the shells they thought were empty already. For every shell they threw away, I found three more little oysters hiding in the little nooks and crannies of the abrasive shells’ surface.

Scotch Tape- Go ahead, laugh. I discovered this very early on. In my early teens, actually. I was flipping through my baby journal (My mom kept a baby journal during my developing years as a baby) when I saw an entry that went, “Today, Paul ate a large wad of scotch tape he found on the floor”.

Camaru (Crickets)- I was 9 when I first saw cricket on a plate. Being the 9 year old that I was, I was excited to eat them. I had like 5 servings of the stuff. The crickets were crunchy and tasted like crispy crablettes. My mom told me not to eat too much as that I might get an upset stomach. To the surprise of the family, I DID get sick, but not because of indigestion. I was allergic to the stuff and I broke out in hives and rashes. I never ate them ever since.

Ketchup/Mayonnaise Sandwich- This is a gourmet delight of my own creation which was brought out by a mere accident. My uncle was making hamburgers and would, instinctively put the ketchup and mayonnaise on his bun first before the burger. After putting the stuff in mine and aiming for the burger to be my next victim, to my dismay, there was nothing left! I was forced to eat my burger-less bun with all the condiments in it…and I loved it! My dad would just stare at me with puzzled eyes as I would make my gourmet sandwich everyday after school. After a while I got sick of it and stopped.

Stingray-I didn’t want to pass off the opportunity of eating a sting ray when I was in Cebu. It was surprisingly bony. It was like eating fish in on chicken ribs. I heard that the meat was inherently spicy, meaning you don’t need chilli to spice up the meat. I don’t know, though.

Buro”/”Ginamos”- Cebuanos would drown their rice in this gray stuff that “used” to be fish and salt in a jar. It’s available is different stages of decomposition. From ‘just starting to get runny ' to ‘gray cesspool’. Buro is rice and fish perfectly blended together for a certain amount of time to harmonize into a porridge of strong flavors and aromas that looks like cat vomit. Perfect with broiled fish and usually eaten with mustasa, this stuff is loved by Kapampangans but hated by everyone else. I once asked a Cebuano if he ever ate buro, he said, “No. I’ll just stick to ginamos”. That’s like saying “ I’d rather have my arms rather than my legs cut off.”
Still, I love both. If prepared well and cooked properly, I can’t get enough of this stuff. Both are very high in sodium and don’t have very much nutritional value. But when did that ever stop us?

Knorr Cubes- There was a familiar piece of brown stuff in aluminum foil wrapping on the kitchen table one day.

I swear, I thought it was Choc-Nut.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Moore to make "Farenheit 9/11" sequel

Some people go to the movies to have fun. Some people play tennis. Some people like to do crocheting or needle work. Michael Moore likes to make George W. Bush's life miserable. After the widely successful outcome of his Bush bashing block buster "Farenheit 9/11" and after the "disastrous" outcome of the past US Presidential elections in November 2, Moore, ever the crusader, won't give up his fight to rid the world of the world's most powerful hick, and has announced his plans to make a sequel to Farenheit 9/11 aptly titled "Fahrenheit 9/11 1/2".

Acccording to Yahoo! News:
"Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election) and we want to educate and enlighten them," Moore was quoted in Thursday's edition of Variety. "They weren't told the truth. We're communicators and it's up to us to start doing it now."

Moore also suggests the American people to take a positive outlook on their "current situation", "George W. Bush is prohibited by law from running again", he said.
I saw Farenheit 9/11 last July. I liked it, but didn't love it. I think OldBoy should have gotten the Palme'd'our at the Cannes Film Festival. Im' not pro-Bush, either, but I thought it was kind of leaning towards getiing rid of Bush rather than offering a solution.
Well, to each his own. I guess I'll stick to crocheting and needle work...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Tom Hanks in Transformers?

You may not believe this. I didn't when I first heard about it. It seems like the new Steven Speilberg -produced live action treatment of my favorite cartoon series of all time, The Transformers, could have Tom Hanks in it. Tom Hanks, you say? Ok before you go "Galvatron" on this new, surprising development, hear this out:

Tom Hanks' name was brought up for several reasons. One, he is a HUGE Transformers fan/collector. A few years ago on a late night talk show he did his rendition of the Transformers theme song for all to hear. Second, Hanks and Spielberg go way back with several different projects.
Ok. This is reason enough for me. I love Tom Hanks. He is one of the best actors that ever lived and is a living legend in his own right. I'm just a little baffled on how he can contribute to a CG animated-futuristic,children's cartoon-based movie (okay, so there's The Polar Express). The Transformers does not necessarily need a seasoned actor to be effective (It's going to be a predominantly made up of CG genrerated robots) Perhaps a role for a character not in the cartoon series. Or Spike, the human friend to the Autobots.

Click here for the source link. There's a little link of Tom singing the "Transformers Theme Song" too.

Props to Twitch

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ed Roman's Weird Guitars.

It's unbelievable that this thing was carved out of one piece of wood. I wonder if it sounds ok. Go ahead. Click the picture for a larger view.
Check out a bunch of other weird guitars in Ed Roman's Collection here.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Movie Review: "Before Sunset" (2004)

It's one of those movies where I couldn't decide right away if I liked it or not until after I slept on it, then I realize that I experienced something memorable. I had the same reaction with Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space oddysey and OldBoy. Now they're my favorite movies of all time.

Richard Linklater is at his best when he does Independent projects like Slacker and Dazed and Confused. I remember being a fan as long as way back in 95 when I saw D and C. It seemed like this guy was talking to me on a personal level through his films. They're so personal and sincere. The fact that they're independent productions show that artistic expression was the priority in making these films.Sunset is no different.

I first saw Before Sunrise on cable on a lazy afternoon. I was glued to the set listening to the conversations of main characters Jesse and Celine and was a witness to their fresh view of the world and the frustrations that came along with it from the time they met in a train to the last kiss and embrace before leaving Vienna promising to each other that they would meet again in 6 months. No letters. No phone.

Released through Warner Independent Pictures ( I didn't know that Warner had an independent outfit until I saw the opening credit) It immediately gives you the feeling that you are watching a small movie. It starts off with a montage of scenes from Paris and takes off with Ethan Hawke's Jesse in a Bookstore doing a press junket on his new book "This Time" which was "loosely" based on his romantic experience nine years ago with a French girl in Vienna. Things really start to turn up once we see Julie Delpy's Celine show up in the bookstore, one hour before Jesse's scheduled flight back to New York.
The whole movie is a good 80 minutes of pure engaging, intriguing and at times hilarious conversation. I like talkies like this and movies like Finding Forrester. They make you feel smarter after you watch them. The main difference between Before Sunset from its equally engaging prequel Before Sunrise is that we are brought in the middle of a conversation between two intelligent people trying to make sense of themselves and the world around them. A very familiar setting in colleges and office cafeterias. They make you want to jump in and join. They make you nod in aggreement, laugh out loud in empathy and cry inside in agreement.
Other than the dialogue, the ending was also subject to much deliberation and puzzlement. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it. Its so fascinating that Linklater decided to leave us in such an open ended, enigmatic yet poignant part of the conversational adventure that we end up making the conclusion ourselves. Reactions in the theater ranged from bedazzled and dumbfounded to rowdy and obnoxious. I have to admit, I was caught in the idea of condemning this movie the second the credits started rolling. But this was where the movie finally got me. IT MADE ME THINK. Something that a movie hasn't done to me in a long time. I was contemplating the ending all the way out of the theater, out of the mall, inside the bus, walking down the street and in my bed as I lay down.

People who have seen the first film 9 years ago SHOULD see this. You know how young and stupid you were when you saw the first one and how only young people naive of the facts of the world like taxes,parenting and overpriced diapers can really enjoy it. This movie grew up with you and it still, with poetic flair, speaks your language.

Rocketboy's Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thoughts on Bad Fruit from a Bush

Well, the results are out. I may say, I'm not surprised with the outcome at all. Sure, California and New York and the more "liberal" states were Kerry people, but the voice of the people in America's heartland spoke louder (as they always have) in this election.

I'm not pro-Bush and I don't like Kerry either. I think its like choosing between a rotten apple and orange peels.

Im kinda relieved, though, that Kerry lost. His taxation laws on outsourcing companies is scaring the crap out of our bosses. Once he set foot on the White House, he was going all out on homeland protection that he would have prompted the outsourcers to go back home to give the Americans their jobs back. Good for them, of course. Bad for us callcenter people.
With Bush we are safe from this transition. Of course, he can buy out more oil companies and bomb more villages in the process. Never good.

Rotten Apples and Orange peels.

here are some excerpts from excruciatingly close contest gave every sign of ending up like the 2000 debacle that went to the US Supreme Court before Bush was declared the winner.

But this year Bush won big, capturing a majority of the popular vote for the first time and spearheading a successful Republican drive to expand the party's control of both houses of Congress.

Now that's a scary thought.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The New, uh.. "OldBoy" Toy

After winning the Grand Prix in the Cannes Film Festival, OldBoy has become a household name and has brought South Korea to the map as one of the premier upcoming cinema giants in the turn of the 21st Century. This nihilistic tale of revenge is the masterpiece of Director Chan Wook Park based on the japanese Manga of the same name.
Like all heroes (or anti-heroes, for that matter) protagonist Oh Dae Su needs to have an action figure (or 'Replicas', if you prefer to be more snotty about it). I must say, these are really good for a relatively unknown character (for now). I'm not sure if these will be anywhere near available in the Philippines. I hope to have one someday, somehow, and I'm willing to be locked up in a small, "cheap hotel"-like room, scrub toilets and eat fried dumplings for a month for it too.

Props to twitch.

I'm a Finalist!

It's funny how the Philippine Blog Awards logo goes well with my template design...

Daddies, hold on to your daughters, cuz this bad boy is one of the finalists in the Phillipine Blog Awards "Most Informative Blog Site Category". Actually, I don't really know why I got into the same mix as MLQ III and all these wordpress, CSS experts, much less about the type of information I blog out (apparently a lot of people are interested in my DVD covers and who my preferrences are for the next McGyver movie). I only got to learn of this terrific news when a fellow finalist posted a comment and offered praise on my halloween blog (maybe he's after the "Ms. Friendship" award). Just kidding, man!
But seriously, this means nothing to me. As long as my readers are happy, as long as I get to express my art and ideas to the meager number of readers and inspire their lives in the process, I'm ha...CRAP! Who am I KIDDING? WHOO' DA MAN?! WHOO' DA MAN!!!