11 January 2015

30 Lazy Movie Reviews

What did you expect? It's been eighteen months (eighteen months! EIGHTEEN MONTHS!) since Lead Character's last post. So to somehow make up for his long period of being MIA, he is going to review random movies he's seen that he never got around to reviewing--which were not necessarily released in the last eighteen months, and not necessarily the only movies he's seen in that particular period--and review them in a lazy, uninspired way.

Confessions (2010, Japan)

Surprisingly compelling and wonderfully satisfying. Mix juvenile delinquency with AIDS in one story and you're bound to see some explosions, both emotional and actual.

I Give My First Love To You (2009, Japan)

Imagine Nicholas Sparks eating sushi while writing another sappy novel. Still can't help the waterworks, though.


Movie 43 (2013, USA)

Critically panned by many but absolutely enjoyed by Lead Character. Lead Character laughed so hard his Adam's apple split, forming a second pair of testicles. Favorite moment: Chris Pratt getting hit by a car, blowing the shit out of him.

21 and Over (2013, USA)

Light comedies are supposed to make you forget about all of your problems for an hour and a half, but this one just adds to them. Benign. A waste of time.

I Give It a Year (2013, UK)

A British romcom with British Rafe Spall, Australians Rose Byrne (a goddess!) and Simon Baker, and American Anna Faris (a demigoddess). Quite effectively adorable and funny if you're in the mood, otherwise this might make you retch. Important: Lead Character was in the mood when he saw this.

Mental (2012, Australia)

Film director PJ Hogan (Muriel's Wedding, My Best Friend's Wedding) reunites with Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding, but not My Best Friend's Wedding) in another music-filled comedy that makes you realize there are a number of things that you cannot joke about, but mental illness is not one of them.

Admission (2013, USA)

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are likable enough to make this comedy compelling, but it fails to serve its purpose as a comedy, as it has rendered Lead Character depressed after.


Exam (2009, UK)

In search of a movie that takes place mostly in one tiny location, or as Lead Character would call it, a "claustrophobic" movie--like Cube (1997), Treed Murray (2001), Phone Booth (2002), Buried (2010)--Lead Character found Exam, a psychological thriller that indeed has the same riveting buildup as the other "claustrophobic" movies he's seen.

Fermat's Room (2007, Spain)

Another "claustrophobic" movie whose premise grabbed Lead Character by the collar immediately. Four mathematicians are trapped in a room whose walls close in whenever they fail to solve a puzzle within a given amount of time. Why are they there? Who put them there? How are they connected to each other? Frak, yeah!


Rabbit Hole (2010, USA)

Heart-rending performances from Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. Well, mostly Nicole Kidman, as the grieving, the pain, the torture, the unimaginable feeling of loss is more felt from her, which isn't saying Aaron Eckhart is insufficient; just different.

Spring Breakers (2012, USA)

Well-received by critics, but ill-received by Lead Character. How is it possible for Selena Gomez to be considered prettier than Vanessa Hudgens?

Syrup (2013, USA)

Ill-received by critics, but well-received by Lead Character. Amber Heard is sickeningly gorgeous.


The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, USA)

Lead Character's pick to win the Best Picture Oscar, and Leo was pretty much everyone's pick to win Best Actor except for the Oscar voters. But of course, 12 Years a Slave had to win (fucking white guilt). And Matthew McConaughey had to win Best Actor (fucking hetero guilt).

American Hustle (2013, USA)

Amy Adams is a goddess.

Frozen (2013, USA)

Really? You want to know what Lead Character thinks of Frozen? Isn't it enough that "Let It Go" exacerbated Lead Character's hernia?

Prisoners (2013, USA)

Lead Character's 2nd favorite Paul Dano movie, after There Will Be Blood (2007) and before Little Miss Sunshine (2006). 

Side Effects (2013, USA)

This is Soderbergh on a good day. Rooney Mara's performance here is more of a revelation than her performance in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011). She's officially become Lead Character's 2nd favorite Mara, after Kate Mara and before Mara Clara.


The English Teacher (2013, USA)

Pretty benign. Perhaps this is a good watch on a rainy day and you have plenty of food at home. Because Julianne Moore is a goddess and she can never do anything wrong. But never watch this if you're hungry and all you have in your fridge are condiments. Are condiments supposed to be refrigerated? I know mayo should be. But ketchup?

The To-Do List (2013, USA)

Has some memorable funny moments, and Aubrey Plaza is always fun to watch, but all in all, you're just thankful this is low-budget, because....wait, I know you do not have to refrigerate soy sauce, but what if you've already mixed soy sauce with slices of tomatoes and onions? Refrigrate that? Or will its smell only dominate your entire fridge? Anyone?

The Canyons (2013, USA)

So sad to see novelist Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction) write a movie that is this bad. And that breaking of the fourth wall in the last frame of the movie, that doesn't even convey anything artistic. The only thing that would have saved this wreck is an unsimulated sex scene between James Deen and Lindsay Lohan. Let's see if that broad can handle his huge dick.

The Rules of Attraction (2002, USA)

Quite a satisfying watch. Perhaps it's up there now in Lead Character's favorite teen movies of all time. See, Bret Easton Ellis, you have got to leave the screenwriting to actual screenwriters.


The Call (2013, USA)

An effectively engaging thriller despite the absurdity. This might work better as a TV series, though.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Romania)

A chilling take on the topic of abortion. Well, abortion may very well be always a chilling topic, but this one just sucks it out of your uterus, whether or not you have one. Five stars out of four.

About Time (2013, UK)

One of the few movies that made Lead Character bawl his eyes out. Although the crying may be attributed to him getting locked out of his friend's apartment for over eight hours with no money for lunch.


Sana Dati (2013, Philippines, English title: If Only)

Lead Character had high expectations on this movie, and they were successfully met. Weighty. Emotionally-charged. A gem.

Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2013, Philippines, English title: Norte, the End of History)

Powerful performances from the cast, especially Angeli Bayani, who could gut you effortlessly even without delivering a line. Lav Diaz just needs to stop masturbating, though, and learn to cut overindulgent scenes, scenes that never really help push the story along any better than if they are shorter. Here's what will make you a genius: tell a shorter version of a story and manage to give it as much impact as its longer version.


Gone Girl (2014, USA)

The movie has a lot more interesting bits than the book. And Rosamund Pike looks like she smells good, while Lead Character is pretty sure Ben Affleck doesn't.

The Skeleton Twins (2014, USA)

Bill Hader shines and Kristen Wiig sparkles. It will make you laugh hard and then sit quietly still, heavy-hearted.

Obvious Child (2014, USA)

Hands down the most romantic movie about abortion ever made.



Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (2014, Brazil, English title: The Way He Looks)

The Portuguese title, Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho, literally means "Today I Want to Go Back Alone." But perhaps "The Way He Looks" sounds more poetic in English than it does in Portuguese. This is beautifully made with no pretensions, perhaps somewhat Wattpad-esque in its execution of a romantic story, but definitely masterful enough to resound like a genuine heartbeat for years. This is the type of movie that Lead Character wants to force everyone to watch.

08 July 2013

The Bling Ring (2013)



The trailer has so much promise but the movie doesn't quite deliver. It feels like Sofia Coppola doesn't know what she wants the movie to be about.

It is still worth a viewing, though. Mostly to see Emma Watson struggle with a certain American accent that Lead Character is having trouble placing anywhere. It may be the very Californian accent parodied on SNL, who knows? And Emma Watson still manages to shine. Whenever she's onscreen your eyes stay glued on her. Many might want to kill Lead Character for saying this, but he believes Emma Watson is this generation's answer to the Golden Age's Audrey Hepburn.

As a comedy, the movie works. Lead Character's favorite bit: Leslie Mann's character saying she's home schooling her children based on the Laws of Attraction (a.k.a. The Secret).

25 June 2013

Dropping Off McSpicy Kids at the Pool

Season 3 Episode 1

When you're traveling, do not eat what is readily available in your home country. Try out local delicacies, be adventurous. This kind of thinking is brought back in Lead Character's mind upon finding out that McDonald's Philippines is now offering the McSpicy chicken burger.



Right after watching Man of Steel, Lead Character and friends go straight to the nearest McDonald's to order, to taste once again, the aggressive kick that McSpicy chicken burger offers. After the first bite, Lead Character bows his head low and bursts into tears. Not quite as spicy as when he first tasted it....

FLASHBACK:

SUPERS: Singapore, May 2011

Lead Character and friends are exhausted after partying in Clarke Quay. They drop by McDonald's to grab something to eat. Lead Character doesn't order anything, still quite full and already sleepy. In a few hours, they'll be on a bus to Malaysia.

LEAD CHARACTER (lips pointing to his friend's food): NonFacebooker, that doesn't look like anything they offer in the Philippines.

NONFACEBOOKER: OMG, it's really good. It's spicy chicken burger, nom nom aahhh nom.

LEAD CHARACTER: May I have a bite?

NONFACEBOOKER: Sure, sure.

LEAD CHARACTER: Nom nom aaahh it's really spicy aaahh.

LEAD CHARACTER makes a mental note to order a whole burger for himself next time.

SUPERS: Two days later....

Finally, Lead Character gets a whole burger for himself. It's nighttime. The next day they're going to Universal Studios.

LEAD CHARACTER: Nom nom aahh wow it's really spicy.

Beads of sweat the size of ganglion cysts are dripping from Lead Character's forehead. It looks like he's in the shower crying after getting raped by women.

LEAD CHARACTER: Nom nom OMG this is too much I love it nom nom.

SUPERS: The next day....

There's an unsettling sound coming from Lead Character's belly, like something out of a disaster movie, something that portends mass destruction, like some evil monster about to destroy an entire city. Lead Character runs to the toilet.

LEAD CHARACTER: Mon mon mon (Get it? The opposite of 'nom nom nom.' Or perhaps that gives the impression Lead Character is throwing up? No, Lead Character is not throwing up.) Jesus H. Christ! What is happening?

It feels like Lead Character is shitting a mix of razorblades and barbed wire. And because there's a dozen of them and only one bathroom, Lead Character finishes quickly.

SUPERS: An hour later....

At the MRT station, Lead Character hears that portentous sound again coming from his belly. This time, it's not just auditory, it's sensational!

LEAD CHARACTER (to his friends): Guys, I'm really sorry, but I need to drop my kids off at the pool again.

Concerned with the tortured look on Lead Character's face, his friends tell him yes, they still have time, he can drop his kids off at the pool if it's really necessary. So off Lead Character goes to the public toilet.

There's only him, another guy, and a woman wearing a uniform, presumably the CLEANING LADY, 70s. Lead Character picks a stall. Normally, he waits for everyone to leave the public restroom before he drops his kids off. But this is not a normal time. So off his kids go, still feeling like razorblades and barbed wire, and this time, compounded by what feels like rock salt over an open wound. Lead Character is tempted to scream.

There's a knock on the stall door.

LEAD CHARACTER: There's someone here....

CLEANING LADY: (Something in Mandarin)

LEAD CHARACTER: Wait....

CLEANING LADY: (Something in angry Mandarin, and she's now pounding on the door)

LEAD CHARACTER: Wait... wait....

CLEANING LADY: (Livid Mandarin, more pounding on the door.)

Lead Character hurries. He wipes himself clean, or so he thinks, and steps out. Cleaning Lady is looking at him angrily. She's already had the main door locked. She unlocks it and shows Lead Character out. Lead Character gives her an apologetic stare with his head low.

Whatever Cleaning Lady was after, Lead Character will never know. Lead Character suspects she just wants to be alone while cleaning the facilities.

Lead Character's FRIENDS: So, you're all good?

LEAD CHARACTER (shaking his head): I can't promise.

When they reach Universal Studios, Lead Character feels the monster in his belly again.

LEAD CHARACTER (pleading look): Guys... I'm really sorry.

One of Lead Character's friends, KIYLI MINOGUE, male, late 20s, laughs.

KIYLI MINOGUE: Hemorrhoids! You have hemorrhoids if it hurts that much!

Lead Character feels like crying. How can he possibly get on a roller coaster if he has hemorrhoids?

Thankfully, Lead Character doesn't have hemorrhoids. His third time dropping the kids off at the pool kills the monster off. Lead Character feels free, not as a bird, but as something who just dropped the final blast of spicy shit after hours of torment.

For Lead Character, it's the best day of his life. And with the weakened spiciness of McSpicy chicken burger in the Philippines, Lead Character is disappointed knowing he may never experience that day again. After everything he's been through, Lead Character realizes that the best thing on earth is not love, or money, or friendship, or family. The best thing on earth is the feeling of relief.

The look of relief on Lead Character's face.

23 June 2013

A Life of Croissants, Cheese, Cold Cuts, and Wine

...is la vie Parisienne at La Vie Parisienne, a cozy little container van-cum-bakery-slash-wineshop-slash-something-or-other along Gorordo Ave., Cebu City.

Lead Character is lazy, so he only took one photo during
one of their La Vie Parisienne get-togethers.
Here we feature NonFacebooker's sister Eyebrow.

Lead Character and his friends consider it the ultimate hangout that matches their age and economic status.

Instead of beer and the occasional whiskey (which, one might argue, actually matches their age as well), they have champagne and wine, both white and red.

Instead of the kropek, the sizzling sisig, or the chips that they used to have back in their, um, teens, they have brie cheese, cold cuts, croissants, and whatever else they fancy that doesn't necessarily complement the type of wine they're having.

And of course, everything they buy is congruent to the wads of cash that they have in their wallets. Every bottle they buy is carefully selected. They spend almost half an hour browsing through the shelves to find bottles of wine that do not cost more than Php200 each.

Come to La Vie Parisienne. Enjoy some wine, engage in intellectual discussions about books, socio-political concerns, foreign-language films, and eventually, sex, undiagnosed medical conditions, and memorable bowel movements.

Au somme!

Lea Salonga Is Not OA


Lead Character just finished watching the first episode of The Voice of the Philippines, just to find out if Lea Salonga is indeed "overacting" as a judge/coach.

She isn't!

She may seem like she is, but what Lead Character is irritated about is how lackluster the entire production is. They do not even have that sound effect when a judge pushes the red button (maybe they do but Lead Character could barely hear it). When the crowd applauds, it sounds like there are only ten people applauding. You need embellished pageantry in order to engage those who are watching from their living room. Right now, everything surrounding the judges is underwhelming, hence the unintended projection of "overacting."

Note to the producers: embellish, please!

Man of Steel (2013)

 
In case you do not know this yet, Lead Character is the Chief Procrastination Officer of his company. And to live up to his position, he is reviewing Man of Steel several days late. And to further outdo himself, he is going to write a lazy review. And here it is:

Any movie that features Henry Cavill is worth watching, even if the movie is tremendously flawed in its writing that Lead Character, at times, wanted to punch someone in the face, or in the neck, or in the small of the back.

Photo taken from jcentrecebu.com

To avoid having to suffer through a long line of moviegoers, Lead Character and friends decided to watch Man of Steel at JCentre Mall. Their cinema is quite small but pleasant. Even if you sit in the front row, your viewing experience will not be compromised as it's at a good distance from the screen. There are a couple of things, though, that Lead Character didn't enjoy. First, the volume was too low. Whether or not it was only the case for that specific screening of Man of Steel doesn't matter. First impressions last. Another, their popcorn comes in just two flavors: salt and cheese. Lead Character prefers sour cream and onion. What's worse? They put too much cheese powder in Lead Character's popcorn that it tasted saltier than a wrestler's neck. For the first time in his life, Lead Character couldn't finish his large bag of popcorn.

12 June 2013

Lazarus

Lead Character is back. You probably thought he's long dead, and perhaps that's been the case. But now he's been resurrected.

The sad thing, though, is that you might think he's bigger than ever. But no. He's about the same size as before. He just hopes to be prolific this time.

And to celebrate his return, he would like to tell a rape joke. If rape jokes offend you, then please stop reading right about HERE. Leave! Close the browser! Do not read past this sentence.

The title of this joke is:

"Casting for a Movie That Features Rape"

A producer and his director are holding an audition for the role of a rapist in a hopefully sexy enough flick that it would be a box office hit. Because of what is required of the role, they have some trouble finding the right actor. Three struggling newcomers show up to audition.

The director asks Actor #1 if he would be OK shooting a rape scene, where he would rape, say, someone like Jessica Soho. Actor #1's eyes widen. He shakes his head. "That would be wrong. I am fine with shooting a rape scene, but not with Jessica Soho." The producer asks why not. Actor #1 says, "Jessica Soho is an accomplished journalist. She is brave, intelligent, and widely respected. If it were with someone stupid and shallow, it would probably be OK."

And with that, the producer and director say, "Thank you for your time. And best of luck." Actor #1 leaves.

The director asks Actor #2 if he would be OK shooting a rape scene, where he would rape, say, someone like Jessica Soho. Actor #2 straightens his stance. "Only if it is done in a serious manner." The producer tells him the movie is a sex comedy, and people will be expected to laugh while someone is being raped. Actor #2 shakes his head. "Then I'm sorry. Rape should never be treated as a joke."

And with that, the producer and director say, "Thank you for your time. And best of luck." Actor #2 leaves.

The director and producer are now fearing that they will never find the right actor, that they might have to resort to CGI in order to accomplish the rape scene. They call on Actor #3, rather gloomily, certain about how it is going to turn out.

The director asks Actor #3 if he would be OK shooting a rape scene, where he would rape, say, someone like Jessica Soho. Actor #3 nods and says, "Sure." The producer gives a quizzical brow. He tells Actor #3, "This is going to be a sex comedy. People will be expected to laugh while someone is being raped." Actor #3 nods and says, "Sure."

The producer and his director are relieved. They finally found their rapist.

Actor #3 clears his throat. "Under one condition, though."

The producer and his director are quiet for a few seconds. The producer brings himself to ask Actor #3, "What is it?"

"I'll do the rape scene. But only if Jessica Soho is on top of me."

The director shakes his head. "Then that won't be possible. How could you possibly rape someone who's on top of you?"

Actor #3 takes a step back. "Thank you for your time, gentlemen. And best of luck." Actor #3 turns to leave.

The producer jumps from his seat. "Now, wait a minute! I'm sure we can figure something out."

Actor #3 turns to face the director and producer again.

"I would like to know," the producer says. "Why are you only willing to shoot the rape scene with Jessica Soho on top of you?"

Actor #3 takes a deep breath, his eyes bore into theirs. "I do not, and never will, take rape lightly."

12 July 2012

Quick updates to make up for the four-month drought

Almost a fortnight ago, Lead Character went to another fashion show. It was by students of fashion design schools in the city--Fashion Institute of Design & Arts (FIDA) and the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP)--held at the VUDU. One of his friends, OLIVERIO, went to FIP and one of his designs was featured on the runway. It was fantastic. Lead Character doesn't really know squat about fashion design so his criteria in judging a dress are simply "wearable" and "nice to look at."

Three highlights of the night are:

1. Oliverio's bow after his work was presented.



2. A bracelet that Lead Character and his friend Brey found on the floor. It just fell from someone's wrist, but they couldn't find who dropped it. Lead Character nudged for Brey to hand it to a waiter, as perhaps they had a Lost-and-Found box. Brey handed it to the guy next to him, who was wearing a black shirt just like the waiters were. The guy turned out to be another customer. But instead of asking why he was handed a bracelet, he just pocketed it. And that, ladies and germs, is how you leave Lead Character speechless. After taking the bracelet, the guy and his friends left the club.

3. The after-party. Well, it wasn't the official after-party of the fashion show, but the after-party of Lead Character and his friends. It's the 6th anniversary of Numero Doce, a bar that has become, over the years, Lead Character's weekend home. Laugh at him if you must, but their shot of Jack Daniel's only costs Php80. Not that it's Lead Character's poison every single time, but for an option to cost only Php80, you can just STFU.


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Movies, movies.

Only two movies are on Lead Character's must-see list this year: PT Anderson's The Master, and Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, a movie based on a musical based on a novel by Victor Hugo. Lead Character wishes to write one day a radio ad based on a painting based on a movie based on a musical based on an afternoon nap-time dream.

One thing to note about movies, and even TV shows, of today is the epidemic of male frontal nudity. To name a few recent ones that Lead Character just saw: Wanderlust and American Reunion. Prosthetics or not, they were still penises. Lead Character wishes for MTRCB to not even go near Magic Mike. Not that it's a certainty, but one can still wish to see Matt Bomer's mini Matt Bomer.

Fifteen minutes into American Reunion, Lead Character was reminded of the first ever American Pie movie, in that it didn't inspire any form of laughter from him, not even a short chuckle. The only thing that made Lead Character root for American Reunion was a line that went something like "Don't mess with the class of '99, bitch!" Hear, hear!

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Lead Character's younger sister has a doll named Sara. She had it since she was about two or three, and it was her favorite toy, because Sara closed her eyes whenever she was in a horizontal position.

More than fifteen years later, Sara is still very much alive, but she has gotten old. So Lead Character decided to give her  makeover.

The result is a doll that's very effective in scaring little children.

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Lead Character wishes to write more. So if he finds the time, expect a flurry of posts from him. Right now, for lack of topics to write about, he may just talk about his travels from last year. Old stories, yes, but it's never too late until they've been forgotten.

31 March 2012

Good Girls Gone Barred

Social media controversy has struck again. This whole week, the one news item that got Lead Character all riled up is that of high school students from STC being barred from attending their graduation rites over supposedly “lewd” bikini photos posted on Facebook. Lead Character hates it when the self-righteous (and more often than not, religious) impose their morals on others. Sure, they are an institution and if you are a voluntary part of it, you have to abide by their rules. But Lead Character cannot help but feel disgusted. The message that this whole thing has delivered is that if you are in a bikini with a cigarette, you are immoral. Lead Character has friends, both male and female, who’ve worn bikinis with a cigarette in their hands and they are good, loving, and moral people. This brings us now to a new segment called:


Really, STC officials!?! Those photos are a “gross disrespect to a woman’s dignity”? What woman? It’s the 21st century. Women without dignity are those that submit to their men like servants. Women without dignity are those that steal, kill, judge other people, and never achieve an orgasm (actually, this goes as well for men). Sex does not strip women of their dignity; if anything it empowers them. Besides, I seriously doubt those photos are “sexually provocative.” They are high school students, for Chrissakes; they were probably just emulating ANTM contestants. Ever watched ANTM? No? Really!?!

09 February 2012

Shame (2011)

A few years ago, Lead Character spent the night at a guy's place, didn't get any sleep, and had to get to work at eight in the morning. By seven, he asked the guy for his soap, shampoo, and towel. The guy's room didn't have a bathroom so Lead Character had to use the communal shower where he had to wait in line and suffer the curious looks of the other tenants.

Lead Character felt like throwing up. For him, it was the height of self-loathing.

In 94 minutes, the movie Shame by Steve McQueen brought that feeling back. Even without much of a story to follow, the inner turmoil in Brandon (the fucking beautiful Michael Fassbender) pulled Lead Character in. He had expected a lot of eroticism, only to be surprised by a hard slap in the face. (The sex scenes weren't erotic at all, in Lead Character's opinion, but the damn movie still made his head spin.)

Best part of the movie: that scene where Brandon let the guy smell his finger.

Worst part: seeing it end.

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