Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Noms are Out...

...and all I have to say

The Acadamy Award Nominations for Best Picture for 2004 are lead by everyones favorite for the moment, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, followed by Finding Neverland, Ray and critics favorite Sideways.
Best actor nods go to the versatile Don Cheadle for his role as the compassionate hotel manager in Hotel Rwanda, Johnny Depp as the imaginative J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, Leonardo Di Caprio as the eccentric and germ-o-phobic Howard Hughes in The Aviator and Jamie Foxx with his 'impression' of the legendary Ray Charles in Ray. Clint Eastwood is not only the veteran in this category, but is the only one who doesn't play play a real-life-person.
The best actress nominees are led by Hillary Swank for Million Dollar Baby, Annete Benning for Being Julia, Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake I haven't seen these movies so I really don't have an opinion. I however, have seen Catlina Sandino Moreno 's performance in Maria Full of Grace and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine... I

For the full list, click here.

If this is starting to bore you...cilck here for the latest Sympathy for Lady Vengeance pics.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Essay: "Our Generation"

I was laying in bed sick for two days this week. This means I had almost zero interaction with anyone but my immediate family and my doctor who doesn't even remember me. This led me to do very boring stuff at a very limited pace and time since, well, I was sick and could not move very well.

It was also time for me to catch up on the old DVDs I bought for my mom and dad that I haven't seen yet. I saw the Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park Concert DVD on tuesday. I knew that S and G were for the least part, THE Poets of their generation. I didn't realize until then how much of poets these two really were, until I saw them play 10 straight songs. A few weeks ago we also saw a Peter, Paul and Mary DVD. I was also witness to the power and relevance of their songs and how they represented my parents' generation. My mom would often comment on my musical taste saying "our music" was just noise and senseless lyrics. I always dismissed that as a case of the much balleyhooed "generation gap". Upon further inspection... and introspection. I think there may be a chance that mom was actually right. In fact, I believe now, more than before that she was.

Their generation's music was full of heart, inspiration, rebellion and hopes for a better future. Simon and Garfunkel have a song called "America" which speaks of one's undying devotion to their motherland despite the deconstruction of it's government and ignorance of it's people. It's a song that believes in itself. P, P and M have a song that talks about "...their nation's children living in fear". A very accurate prophecy considering the burgeoning culture of fear that's dominating the minds and hearts of the free world. Our generation's songs are full of jaded words written by corporate lyricists or narcotic induced self proclaimed artists . Topics range from how it "SUCKS TO BE FAMOUS" or "how I hate my mom (or myself)". And if it's not about that, its about "going to the disco, getting stoned, and/or getting laid", you know...the important things in life.
There are exceptions, of course (guys like Josh Groban and those Corr sisters) . Talking about peace and love in this generation will seem corny and "untrue", and may be accused as corporately inspired. But why?

Let me show you what I think.

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f***ing khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."
-Tyler Durden ("Fight Club")

Anyone who has seriosly followed "Fight Club" and the writings of Chuck Palanhiuk knows when and where in the movie (and book) this quote was stated by Tyler Durden. Whe was he referring to? Sadly, He was referring to us. The MTV generation.

My parents were in college during the Vietnam war. They were also very active (being UP coeds) in speaking the Marcos regime. In a time when there was so much oppression and opposition for what was good and true, they were in the forefront, our folks, our uncles their friends and drinking partners. They had buddes who got killed in rallies, brothers who got shot in the jungles by the "Charlie". They loved their songs because to them, they were more than just songs. They were the expression of their most real desires. Freedom. Peace and Love.

What did we have?

"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?"

"Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is a spiritual war. Our depression is our lives"

-Tyler Durden ("Fight Club")

MTV. That's what we had. We had our silly heads glued to that set all day. The violence that we know is second hand knowledge from Oliver Stone and CounterStike. The rush of freedom that we felt came from hearing Mel Gibson screaming his lungs out. We never had wars of our own to fight. We just saw them on CNN.

But why all this angst and frustration? We're free aren't we?

"We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that social emasculation this 'everyman' is created."

-Tyler Durden ("Fight Club")

We are no different physiologically and psychologically from our predecessors. We're just trapped in the malls and cant get out.

TV has promised us that if we drink Ginebra we can get jiggy with Mau Larazzabal and that if you use Ponds you can be as cute and pretty as Karel Marquez. MTV has promised us that we can all be rockstars. Now that we're all grown up working 9 to 5 in Ortigas, we realize that we've been had. And now we're pissed.

That's where, in my opinion, the angst is coming from. That's why our songs are so full of anger and hate. The thing is we really don't know what we are angry about. We're just punching into air.

That's why our songs suck.

I think I'm popping in that Simon and Garfunkel CD again....

Monday, January 17, 2005

Update on "SfLV" story....

Up to now, all that we really have from the tightly guarded storyline of Park Chan Wook's third installment to his revenge trilogy "Sympathy for lady Vengeance" was a pretty enigmatic photo of a woman, presumably "Sympathy..." lead Lee Young Ae and her goofy 70's style glasses. Well now we, the nerdy drooling Korean film fans of the world have something 3lse to nibble on. A somewhat general description of the plot. We don't know much but they say... that it is about a thirty year old woman (who may have spent the last 13 years in prison) out to seek revenge on the man who betrayed her.

Add to that the short but important presence of Choi Min Shik.

Props to Twitch.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Preview: "Azumi 2:Death or Love"

As that the new website Message Boards have finally gone online again after a hacker brought it down, I had stumbled upon a very cool image from the upcoming Samurai Chick movie Azumi 2: Death or Love. I had previously made an entry in my blog with the irresistably cute Aya Ueto and made note of the inclusion of my personal geisha Chiaki Kuriyama in the cast. This looks to be another action packed bonanza of blood, swordplay and short,short,shorts.

You can also click the image for a larger view...

Click here for the official site.

Props to KFCCinema.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Classic TV Theme Songs

Its about time I made a link on a very interesting feature I have been looking at at retrocrush. The top 100 TV Show Theme Songs of All Time are mostly american shows that never got to see air here in the Philippines, but a lot of them I actually got to see in FEN (Far East Network) Philippines back when Clark Air base was still operational. I can still recall the "Three's Company" theme song in my head. Who can forget the Addam's Family theme song? Now those were the days of "real" TV.
Speaking of classic TV. Thre is also a great Speed Racer website out there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Check Out My New Look

After six hours in front of my work PC and rushing almost every Tech Support call I got for the day, I managed to give my blog a major overhaul. I tried to get the center textbox some "filmstock" type design but it came out like crap, so I just let it alone. Anyways I think it looks nice. I still like the old template colors (they kinda grew on me) so I saved those settings on my computer just incase I get sick of this one.

Props to Google for the images on the sidebar.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Movie Review: "Kung Fu Hustle" (2005)

Getting rid of writer's block is just about as fun as pulling out a nail with your teeth so please bear with me. Last Thursday, I was with friends from the office watching Kung Fu Hustle. Aside from the usual banter and horseplay we got to Glorietta 4 in good shape and in good spirits. Apparently alot of people were in the cinemas as well, lining up to watch Oceans 12. I was beginning to think we should have bought tickets for the Steven Sodebergh follow up.

Good thing we didn't change our minds.

Steven Chow is a genius. From God of Cookery and his last kung-fu laugh trip, Shaolin Soccer, Chow has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in asian cinema. With the greatest Hong Cong and chinese talents moving westward for more profitable opportunities. Chow has maintained his Hong Kong production outfit and has come up with the best post wirefu/wushu kung fu comedies in recnt years. His usage of CGI rivals those of the best Hollywood productions, and of course, when it comes to kung fu choreography, nobody beats the home of kung fu.
Kung Fu Hustle is the kind of movie , I believe, Stephen Chow wanted to make and pulled off the way he wanted it. The comedic timing is perfect.
The movies have a lot ofmoments. Moments of pure high kicking, bo staff smacking and blade throwing action, there are moments of pure stupid shallow and tasteless slapstick(in a good way) comedy. There are moments of witty verbal comedy. There are moments of chinese mythical coolness. There are moments of sappy melodrama. and most noticebly, moments of cinematic homages to classic flicks such as the The Shining, The Matrix and the Looney Tunes cartoons.

All in all, Kung Fu Hustle is a woven myriad of martial arts sillines lovingly bonded and fused by a control freak of a film maker (Chow also produces and stars as the lead) with a nice script. A great time at the movies is guaranteed. Make sure you take friends with you to the theaters to get the full effect of the laughs.

Better bring some extra pants, too!

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Are We Getting The Attention We Dont Deserve Yet?

Since the whole asian film boom, almost all countries in Asia have begun to spawn a series of critically acclaimed films and have garnered oodles of awards form their American and European counterparts. Aside from the given Asian movie giants such as Hong Kong, Japan and the recent wave of excellent cinema from South Korea,countries like Thailand, Singapore and even Vietnam have come out with cinematic gems worthy of international note and global distribution. One such movie is the Thai blockbuster "Ong Bak" which is getting a wide US release as well as financial backing from France's own Luc Besson (Nikita, The Professional), Others include "Beautiful Boxer", Singapore's "I Not Stupid" and a host of others.
Sadly enough, the Philippines (which, I last heard, was an Asian country as well) and its movies,has not been garnering the same interest in the foreign market as it's neighbors. Is it because our movies stink? (The comment board is open).
Recenty I stumbled apon an article in Yahoo News about Filipino Cinema from the
The may be just another foreign blogsite. Usually they feature movies from Europe, the US and asia's big three, surprisingly they featured this year's recently concluded Metro Manila Filmfest and commented , with some acclaim I may add, the movies "Sigaw" By Yam Laranas and "Spirit of the Glass" by Jose Javier Reyes.
I have a double standard for Filipino movies. My recent review for Santa Santita" is evidence of this. Given our budget, we can't really make Captain Barbell fly through buildings and tunnels without making it obvious that it was shot in bluescreeen while the wires are obviously exposed and tugging on his supersuit. But we can at least make up for really original creative writing. We cannot afford to buy world class filmstock and exposure chemicals (I have, by the way, been in an obscure filipino movie as an extra and was able to witness how they develop film) , but we can take advantage of digital filmmaking and at least cut and edit them clean and right . The best part is, we have LOTS of talent. Great writers, young directors hungry to make the first great Filipino film, awesome actors (well, at least they look prettier and more handsome than those Thai talents) and lots of great material. What we lack, though are good producers.
Star Cinema, Viva Films and Regal Films dont exactly look for the most avant garde and experimental scripts to produce (it's pretty funny what these companies consider "experimental"). theu stick to a formula. A tried and tested frormula for successful box office revenure. And do it again, and again and again and again and again. If there are any risk takers out there, its ther relatively new outfit Unitel Productions (Crying Ladies, American Adobo) of Tony Gloria. The reason why we haven't seen a lot of good local movies is because there are no production companies who have the balls to produce one. They want to play safe with the poor good girl, rich bad girl template, they want Vilma Santos on the lead. They want Dolphy to live in a house that falls apart at the end of the movie. They want the three hottest "love teams" make an "anthology" or "trilogy" out of it to "triple" the ticket buying audience.
All in all, its a good thing, getting attention. I just hope that we can take more risks and just make use of what we have instead of pretending to have something we don't.