Wednesday, 25 November 2009

New Moon

New Moon. The second installment in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight saga.

Three things I can say about the movie:
1. Jacob Black is definitely on steroids.
2. Boring as f***.
3. Big CGI wolves are kinda cool.

I was asleep in the last 15-20 minutes of the movie. It's a total WOMBAT (waste of money, brains, and time). Aside from the cheesy teenager-ish lines, horrible visual acting of Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, and Bella Swan, the "ghostly-Edward" scenes, and the Volturi (vampire Interpol, anyone?), the movie was a total bust. Only the wolf-CGI was worth watching, and that would be like, three to four scenes? OMFG.

Thank God the popcorn was nice. Wasabi flavor!

Better go watch something else.. anything else.



Sunday, 15 November 2009



I went to see the disaster film 2012 earlier.

I'm a sucker for disaster films. In my top five favorite movies of all time, the great scientific boo-boo Armageddon is included. Don't ask why, but the sight of landmarks getting thrashed and whole cities going into flames are things that morbidly fascinate me. They are just so.. preposterous.

Then comes 2012.

The movie brought together just about everything that could go wrong with the planet. Earthquakes? You got it. Tsunamis? On just about every continent. Volcanic eruptions? How about Hawaii disappearing under lava? The movie is probably the zenith of all disaster movies ever made, and for sheer disastrous-ness, I personally give it an 11 out of 10.

As on my previous paper on musicals where I touched on the CGI-fed audiences of today, 2012 is also probably the most CGI-blasted movie of all time, and what CGI it had! My favorite digitally made scene has to be Californian cities getting eaten up by earthquakes. It was a literal feast for the eyes; I suggest watching the movie or YouTube these particular scenes. Amazingly horrific. The Oscars for effects should go to 2012 by default!

Then comes the plot and characters. Don't even bother looking for a cohesive plot; the cliches of disaster movies are everywhere. The most sickening scenes for me were the 'limo escape' and the 'little airplane escape'. A limousine handling like a souped up Nissan R34 being driven by a divorced author (with his family inside) while driving through the broken and disintegrating landscape of Los Angeles (I think it was LA) AND escaping relatively unharmed was.. let's just say "WTF?" was running through my head. The CGI were pleasantly distracting at this point. The characters had no development whatsoever as well; an RV-residing prophet foretelling the impending doom of humanity? Come on! I suppose the characters were there mostly just to show people in the movie. After all, it was two hours or so of effects anyway. Even the 'touching scenes' looked a little too scripted to be touching as well. At least the goodbye scene in Armageddon was intense and very heartfelt. In 2012, all the goodbye scenes would make you go, "um.. okay?"

I also found the language very technical and scientific. I was pretty glad of my science background as this enabled me to understand quite a bit about what was happening in the movie. I doubt many understand the technicalities with plate tectonics, magnetic pole reversals, and neutrinos. If you do, however, you would appreciate the movie a teeny bit more.

Oh and the "Noah's Ark" thing..? Too much. Way too much.

I appreciated the film mostly because I took it literally as an entertainment; nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. If one would ask one's self, what has this to do with the Mayan calendar crap, I would say next to nothing. It's a movie for those seeking pure time-burners (which was what I did) and not for those who want to be watching a gripping plot.



Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Scorched Earth.. and then a Flower

A 4.0 paper on the journeys of Casablanca characters Rick Blaine and Viktor Laszlo, for the subject American Cinema (USACINE, also known as USAPOPC).



It was a bloody conflict, lasting six years. It took tens of millions of lives. Continents were ravaged, whole populations destroyed. Hope, faith, and love were merely words that once existed. Yet in the midst of all this worldly turmoil, in a tiny, insignificant corner of the world, unknown to all who were involved in some way with the war, a painfully glorious love triangle emerged.

In my eyes, Rick Blaine’s and Victor Laszlo’s journeys to the tiny jump-off city of Casablanca, while shown to happen at different times, more or less meant the same thing: the very human search of hope, when hope was virtually non-existent. The mechanized tentacles of the Third Reich reached deep into every corner of Europe, North Africa, and their allies had an iron grip in Asia. Only the Americas seemed to be safe for the moment. Blaine’s journey to Casablanca not-so-subtly reflected America’s foray into the 20th century; young, idealistic, and morally upright. When one gives one’s all into something that one believes in so much, and see it happen all over again at a much bigger scale, disillusionment sets in – exactly the case of Blaine, and to an almost exact extent, his motherland, America. America did a lot to put an end to an idealistic war, and when it was all over and then happens again, it did all it could to look out for itself, much like how Blaine retreated and isolated himself in his Café Americain. Laszlo, on the other hand, was a man who exemplified what generations of Americans have envisioned themselves to be; courageous, persevering, charismatic, resourceful, and above all, patriotic. I believe that his and Blaine’s characters reflected well the turmoil that went through many Americans’ minds about joining the “European War”, as some would call it. Laszlo, at the end of his rope, finally went to Casablanca to secure a pass that could allow him to help in the war effort in the best way he knew how, unlike Blaine, who appears to be more gung-ho in his previous war efforts. In my opinion, Blaine and Laszlo represented the two conflicting ideals on how to be involved in the War, and yet, deep in their hearts, both men had the same goal, and that was for freedom to prevail over tyranny, and for the world to be liberated from the horrors of war.

Many of the dialogue within the film were off-hand and rather witty. In years that offered so little to laugh about, Casablanca’s dialogue that used affectionate terms such as ‘kid’ as a term of endearment most probably made a lot smile. I believe that the lack of very long and winding dialogues were a welcome break from the dozens of long and detailed radio reports that everyone was hearing broadcasted over the airwaves everyday. Quick, direct exchanges between the main characters like Blaine and his French associate Renault were definitely appreciated more than the stiff, very German-like lines from Strasser, the local German commander. Many scenes also portrayed humanity overcoming the horrors of war. At a time when almost everyone would kill to escape to America, Ilsa Lund could not bring herself to kill the man she loves, even if it meant sacrificing the opportunity to escape for both her and Laszlo. I particularly admire the scene in which Blaine – a self-confessed all-around neutral – allowed the ‘battle of the anthems to happen in his café. His actions spoke of a neutral man finally choosing a side to believe in, and to fight for. He showed that when the proverbial object hits the fan, it was time to take decisive action. Also, Renault’s hypocritical actions – the gambling scene for instance, when he forbids gambling in the café one second, and takes his winnings the next – also lend a touch of humor. Perhaps everything was not so bad after all if, as seen in Casablanca, Blaine’s patrons could still give themselves the occasional enjoyment. Perhaps the most stirring part in the film was when La Marseillaise overcame The Guard on the Rhine in Blaine’s café. The Germans had every right to be happy and to sing nationalistic songs; they held Europe at gunpoint. However, Blaine allowed the long-simmering feelings of patriotism to finally overflow and explode among his patrons as they drown out the German voices with a powerful rendition of La Marseillaise, led by the idealistic Laszlo.

Casablanca showed that not even war could stop humanity from prevailing over conflict, no matter how big or overwhelming that conflict may be, and that human nature such as hope, faith, and love do have permanent places in each person’s heart, so long as they answer its call at the right place and the right time, much like how flowers seemingly just appear in blood-soaked and scorched battlefields, reminding the living that living is more than just being alive.

© J.Cruz, Bachelor of Arts, International Studies (American)
De La Salle University - Manila


This paper is available to anyone for reference, as long as its primary source (me and/or this blog) is cited. Say 'no' to plagiarism. :)


Saturday, 7 November 2009

Skittlez at 1CBE

Skittlez was the opening act of De La Salle University - Manila's College of Business and Economics (CBE) 1CBE Party and launch of Acupuncture (a new brand of kicks). Skittlez featured so many new faces for this gig. We've come a long way, over two and a half years now. :)

We're hot. :P

We're fierce.


Them boys.

Them girls.

We got colors :P (note: see why I'm the 'black skittle')

Fail. :D

More random shots. :)

Thanks to CBE for continuing to give Skittlez gigs. :)
Welcome, newbies.


Friday, 6 November 2009

The Rehearsal Hall

A friend of Gayle and I, Monica, had to shoot "a couple, and they must obviously be dancers". Apart from being models for a while, Gayle and I had some pretty nice shots as well. :P

Thanks Mon. :)

My favorite shots. <3


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Hair Job

Apologies for not blogging; thesis writing and reading lots of cases for International Law has been a real drag!

I got my first hair dye job about a month or so ago. :P I know, it's kinda late, but this is something new for me, so bear with me. :P I chose a color that's called 'red mahogany', but basically it's medium brown. Ahaha.. The names people come up with. Here are the pictures, with some others at Art's Cream Gallery after the dye job, and the toy expo at the Robinson's Place atrium.


End result.

At Art's Cream.

Toy expo.

Ronald McDonald vs Jollibee. :D