Thursday, March 20, 2003

More of these here.

"The splitting of the atom changed everything except man's mode of thinking. Thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe." - Albert Einstein

I'm curious to see your reactions to this speech by Helen Caldicott.

A friend sent me an email earlier today, an angry one with her thoughts on the war, and at the end she talks about an Australian student who was holding a placard that read "I cut History today because it's repeating itself."

War's on. I was watching the news last night and was curious about this group (their name escapes me) of voluntary human shields, hailing mostly from the UK but comprised of different nationalities. They rode into Baghdad in two bright-red double-decker buses. Quite a sight. Anyway, I admire their conviction. They're there, doing what they can, laying their lives on the line.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Congratulations to Jeline on getting a Dean’s Award! She certainly deserves it. :)


Eerie: Not only does the recent Richard Kadrey nanotale “Black Neurology: A Love Story” bear a slight resemblance to a short story I submitted to my English class in freshman college, it also contains a William Blake quote I keep in my wallet. If you’re interested, the quote goes “Those who restrain desire, do so only because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.”

Occasions like these, when work from people I admire and respect hits a theme or bears a resemblance to something I’ve done or thought of, tickles me pink. It’s a special kind of feeling, an almost giddiness. I did a stupid comic story in high school called The Man House, about an insane professor who could shrink people to miniature sizes and kept them in a large dollhouse as his prisoners. Around 5 years later the same plot was used by my god and idol, Alan Moore, in a short Cobweb story in Tomorrow Stories. Man, that made my week. I mean, what am I going to do? Cry “He stole my idea!”? Give me a break! Just knowing that Alan Moore and I came up with the same plot at separate points in our lives gives me the strength to go on. It’s like getting a great compliment from the universe. There’s a Moore concept called Ideaspace that is illustrated by this example. Basically, there’s a dimension of perception wherein instead of matter, you have concepts. Ideas. And this “Ideaspace,” can be tapped by anyone with a consciousness. And Ideaspace has seasons and things like weather, which would explain why the steam engine was discovered by 3 different people in two different continents roughly within the same month. Why so many movies with directly competing “hooks” have been coming out (Volcano/Dante’s Peak, Shrek/Monsters, Inc., Antz/A Bug’s Life, Armageddon/Deep Impact, Independence Day/Mars Attacks, etc.).



So Close sucked. Sorry, I wanted to like it but it’s terrible. Even its guilty pleasure quotient was surprisingly low. It’s such a shame because you can see its potential, too. But what more should I have expected from the director of The Transporter? It’s written by Jeff Lau, who is apparently very famous and successful in Hong Kong, so much so that he is a featured artist in this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival. So far I am not convinced. The leaps of logic are the real special effects here; the action blocking is creative but shot poorly, and they move so slowly it’s unimpressive. Plus the effects are too noticeable. It’s a ridiculously over-the-top film that sometimes tries to be emotional but falls absolutely flat on its face. Plus, there’s a sudden lesbian undertone that emerges at the end! What the--?! Sad.

Narc is terrific. The recent “indie film with lots of buzz” lives up to it. Gritty, exciting, filled with moral swamps, I thought it was great. Acting’s terrific. Heard the director’s kind of arrogant, which is a shame, but he’s got the chops. Heard he’s taking over M:I-3 from David Fincher, which I’m happy about so Fincher can go do some other project I have more anticipation for than Mission: Impossible. Joe Carnahan also did my favorite of the Season 2 BMW Films, Ticker.

I enjoyed Chicago immensely, much to my surprise. I can see why the Academy is in love with it, and will not be surprised if it wins Best Picture, which is beginning to be more and more likely. It was consistently entertaining and surprising, which is hard to maintain, but it went the extra mile. The planning must’ve been intense. Plus, performances were pretty good all around, and best of all, each piece had a distinct look that separated it from the rest. I particularly loved the tap dance and the ventriloquist scenes. The one with the mirrors, too. And an excellent script! Plot and dialogue shine. Now I want John C. Reilly to win too.

Just saw The Majestic tonight, which has a lot of problems but as a feel-good movie kind of won me over at the end. Some scenes felt completely lifeless, though I couldn’t quite pinpoint why.

Star Trek: Nemesis was not as bad as people portrayed it to be. It’s not my favorite Trek film but it’s not the worst. Scenes where they shoot each other with lasers have no suspense at all, though. Still, I love anything that has to do with Data, and at least they’re continuing to do new things with the franchise. The philosophy has always been the core humanity (especially of The Next Generation crew), and that’s suitably on display here.

Am in the middle of reading Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby, which is slow going. Very detailed art, and an ambitious scope. Up next will either be Dylan Horrocks’s Hicksville or Grant Morrison’s The Invisible Kingdom.


I submit for your consideration, Takashi Miike. A Japanese director who’s become fairly popular in recent years due to the worldwide success of Audition, he has the same birthday as me, and is a damn workhorse. Of course, his movies prior to Audition have given him a cult following in countries other than Japan, but it was Audition that really got his name out there, and now all his movies are being invited to various international film festivals. Check out these numbers to see what I mean about workhorse: he only directed his first movie in 1991 (at the age of 31), and at the end of 2002 had 57 films to his credit. His slowest year was 1992, when he only put one film out (A Human Murder Weapon). His busiest was 2001, when he directed 9 films. Runners-up include 1996, 1999, and 2002, when he directed 7 films each year, and 1995, 1998, 2000, when he did 5. In Japan, you have to direct a number of films each year to make money. You just have to be busy. But look at that output. It’s amazing. And almost all his work is better than your average Hollywood movie. At his age, that’s astounding.


Gosh I wish I had cable internet. Better yet, DSL. Or one of those super-broadband networks they already have up and running in Hong Kong. Anything that could play decent video and internet radio. This dial-up stuff just isn’t cutting it anymore, though at less than 4 pesos an hour I’m still paying significantly less than I would be otherwise. Sigh. For you lucky ones:

Friday, March 14, 2003


I kind of organized my links box over on the left side. Finally added Lala as well. And found Joey’s 3rd blog. And do you like the new userpic? Thought so.

Check out Daypop’s Top Word Bursts. It’s an interesting looksee into what people are blogging about right now. And here’s something to look at while eating.


I rarely remember my dreams, but this week, out of the blue, back-to-back nightmares: in the first, I’m in a burning house. In the second, my two front teeth fell out. The second creeped me out more. The sensation of your teeth falling out is just frightening: an altogether different kind of fear that is reserved especially for dental horror. I’m serious. You may laugh, but it’s utterly terrifying, the feeling of your teeth coming loose (in the dream, at least, there was no pain; I don’t know if that made things better or worse), seeing the damage in the mirror…

I certainly hope these dreams aren’t some ill omen.


Can it get any worse than Halle Berry as Catwoman? Apparently it can.

Just found out that J. Lo and Richard Gere are trying to make a remake of Masayuki Suo’s Shall We Dansu?. Dear God NO! If you’re good for anything, Hollywood, you will quash the chances of this happening! Nice to see that Entertainment Weekly still have their sense of humor, though: “If the film follows its overseas counterpart, Gere and J.Lo won't have any love scenes together. Instead of hooking up with the dance instructor, the character is supposed to find new love for his wife after brightening his life by learning to dance. But come on, this is J.Lo.”

In better casting news, Jonathan Glazer’s remake of Hideo Nakata’s Chaos will star Robert De Niro and Benicio Del Toro. No word on the woman yet, which is a pivotal part.

And it’s nice to see that Chris Cooper is rooting for Christopher Walken to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I’m kind of divided about this particular race. Because while I would love to see Christopher Walken honored, I think that this year it should actually go to Cooper. Because his role in Adaptation was his best in an already-stellar career, whereas Walken in Catch Me If You Can was fantastic, but not his best. And then there’s Paul Newman, who’s always great.


Just fucking LOOK at this: Congress has changed the name of French fries to Freedom fries, to show displeasure with France. Bush is turning America into one big joke. You think the French give a damn? They’re probably laughing their ass off, as is the rest of the world. In my case, I’m just getting angrier, and wondering how this fucking moron got elected (oh, that’s right: cheating, and Florida). I agree with Neil Gaiman when he says it’s surprising this isn’t an Onion article. He also says: “Coming soon in America: sticking your tongue in someone's mouth will be known as freedom kissing. In Congress they will breakfast on Freedom toast, smear Freedom mustard on their steaks and drink, well, Californian Wine, I expect.”

Besides, was the fact that they were called French fries ever even a compliment anyway? Next thing you know they’ll be returning the Statue of Liberty.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

eggy_tioseco: why am i not listed under idols in your links?
eggy_tioseco: damn.




Damn I wish I was an artist. I’d give anything to be able to draw well. Or play an instrument well. I’d love to be a musician. I think music is the best invention in the history of humanity. It’s truly universal. It’s a separate language that requires no training; can be appreciated by infant, by octogenarian, by beast. Interesting to think about the fact that music doesn’t actually exist, not in any physical way. It’s temporal, ethereal. You listen, and then it’s gone. Or you play it again, on a recording, or on an instrument. It exists for as long as it takes to hear, then disappears, or becomes engulfed in the next notes. But it lingers in your head, you hum it unconsciously as you walk to wherever you’re going. Last Song Syndrome. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the lyrics. Just the melody. And then you listen to songs and they remind you of things: memories, emotions, places. People. Things. The smell of a van occupied by 5 other people. The feeling of being alone. High school. Grade school. The first rush of being in love, when you don’t feel time passing at all until you look at your watch and realize how late it is.

How I would LOVE to be able to make such sweet, beautiful music.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Last Friday was the 3rd anniversary of Neva and I as a couple.


3 years.

I can’t believe it’s been that long. And yet, at the same time, I can feel the weight of each day, and three years sounds about right.

My thanks to everyone who greeted and texted us. We ate and ate and ate, because it was also the day that Neva became a full-fledged director for Mary Kay, so aside from our lunch and dinner we had a small handaan at her dad’s in Marikina, where she played with her dog Mittens. And if you read her blog, she’s downplaying it a little. Her deadline to get the directorship was March, but since she reached her quota in February, she gets an all-expenses paid trip to Dallas this July. So go over and congratulate her on her blog, which she’s been updating like a madwoman.

We met up with Quark, Mich, and Chris later that night, and then went to a strip club/brothel named Pegasus. It’s fairly popular, the one on Quezon Avenue? I’d always wanted to go there in high school, but I guess it had to wait until after I graduated college. It was fairly interesting, but that’s for another post.

Also came up with this: if you’re in a relationship, can you imagine something worse than accidentally killing the one you love? Is it worse than hearing that they’ve been raped and murdered, for example? I mean, they’d both be events out of your control, but would it be worse if the death were by your hands, albeit inadvertently? If you can, post a comment. I’m curious what’s worse than that.


Blogger’s been screwing up lately. Not that that’s a surprise to anyone. Neva said they’ve been bought by Google, so that may be one of the reasons. And if it’s not Blogger screwing up, it’s Haloscan. I blame Bush.

I also blame him for the fact that last Tuesday, me and Neva went to two malls looking for Hero only to find out that movies were changed a day early because it was a holiday. Damn, I really wanted to see it a second time. Now it’s only playing in far-away malls like SM City Fairview and Manila. When you’re all set for Hero it’s depressing to be confronted with Treasure Planet and Legend of the Crocodile.


I’m disappointed with this year’s Eiga Sai. The annual free film fest is usually the best of the bunch (and one of the first), with actual themed programming (most of these festivals just get what films are available). Last year or so it was all animated films, etc. This year was intriguing: it’s focused on one director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I’d never heard of him prior to the festival, but was intrigued because he was called the “new face of Japanese horror.” And for the country that gave us Ringu, that’s not to be taken lightly. But the thing is, none of these films are horror. The closest is Cure, which made him famous, but it’s a serial killer film. And the rest of the films they selected just aren’t that good. So while he may be a celebrated director (he does about 3 films a year, and will be writing one for Takashi Miike to direct), the 6 movies showing at Eiga Sai this year don’t really cast him in a nice light. All the movies I’ve seen so far have been slow, boring, and with not much happening. Hopefully the last two will prove better, since they sound the most intriguing.

I’ve also been watching the movies alone, which is an experience I’m not used to as much anymore. I mean, I watch movies at home alone all the time, but I haven’t watched a movie in a theater alone in a while. But I used to, a lot, especially in the first 2 years of college, when these embassy-sponsored free film festivals started popping up (usually at Shangri-La Plaza), and the lines would stretch to the parking lot.

This year I’ve noticed some sad things: first, that because the screenings are free you sometimes attract people I’d rather were deterred from going. Like drivers killing time and use the theater as an airconditioned place to sleep in, and noisy squatter schoolkids cutting class who can’t shut the fuck up and giggle and laugh all the damn time. The absolute worst is loner creepy men and women (usually overweight, old, with gray long hair and slippers) who talk out loud when they’re all alone, and just repeat whatever’s happening onscreen. Makes my teeth gnash. I also hate it when gay men are noisy, because it’s obvious they just want the attention; they try so hard to come up with something witty to say, and it’s no accident that their voice is raised so that other people will hear their supposedly-priceless bon mots. The second sad thing I noticed is that if the film’s really quiet, like most Japanese films are, you can actually hear the buses’ horns on Shaw Blvd. Looks Sounds like Shangri-La’s theaters need a little renovating.


If you have a chance, drop by the Cinema Paraiso exhibit at the NCCA building in Intramuros. There are a lot of interesting things on display, like the original Tiyanak doll, a couple of spooky busts and face masks (one of Dolphy, another of Christopher De Leon) that reminded me of Ring 2, the original handwritten script of Aguila by Eddie Romero, scripts of Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating Sa Dulo (which won the FAMAS Award that year for best screenplay, I discovered), Peque Gallaga’s Orapronobis, Lino Brocka’s Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Jose Lacaba’s script for Segurista, a hilarious photo-essay on kissing in Philippine cinema, really cool promotional t-shirts for the movies City After Dark, Bagets, Sister Stella L, and Kisapmata, posters for Maynila and Raymond Red’s Pepe, which may be my favorite Pinoy film poster ever. Joey took some fantastic photos with his new camera, so I hope he gets to upload them soon.

It continues to sadden me that our Golden Age of cinema occurred 3 decades ago, and we haven’t come close since. Especially going through the exhibit, I kept thinking, how sad that we can’t even preserve the best films of our country’s history. They’re hardly on home video, and their existing prints are deteriorating. Where are the film restorers/preservation societies? I wish these films would get DVD releases, so that they could be sent to international schools and festivals. I wish that book I saw on Lino Brocka in the exhibit would be back in print, or at least online. I wish we had our version of the Newmarket Press publishing notable shooting scripts with supplementary material. Reprinting posters for schools and film enthusiasts.

What’s worse: that our Golden Age was 30 years ago or that we’re doing nothing to preserve what made it our Golden Age? I really want to see some of these films, but they’re inaccessible. And I live here! Imagine the frustration of people in other countries interested in Philippine movies of the 70s. The ones we could be proud of. Christ, and these are just the 70s! We can’t find clean copies of Pagdating Sa Dulo, for example, Ishmael Bernal’s first film, which was made in the same year as fucking STAR WARS!!! Sorry, I’m getting upset.

May I also note that it really fucking pissed me off to discover that Mike De Leon and Clodualdo Del Mundo’s script for Bayaning Third World was published by La Salle (De Leon’s an Atenean! Christ, he’s got relatives teaching there!).