Kupalogs, Inc.

Dedicated to the Kupalogs. (Grams', Rockwell, Friday night.)

Sorry if the picture's kinda grainy. This was taken from my lousy Panasonic camera phone.


Freaky Ad

This picture is from a print ad for Intel's People's PC which came out last Sunday on the Philippine Star. I had to double take just to make sure it wasn't actually Woo-Woo. Freaky...


Pinoy Blonde, the Conclusion

Well, my advocacy is shifting to the home video arena now that the movie I have been avidly plugging (and not just here on the blog) Peque Gallaga's Pinoy Blonde, has been rather unceremoniously yanked from movie theaters. I find its "passing" sad, especially since there were people out there who were more than willing to watch it, had it only been showing in theaters near enough to them.

I really don't pretend to know how film distribution works, but assuming the decision of putting this movie into theaters was that of the mall/cineplex owners, then I say shame on them for not having the balls to back this movie. The buzz factor in print and broadcast media for this movie was pretty prevalent, so you really wonder why no one seemed interested.

I also say, shame on us, the collective youth, for not giving this film a fair shake. I mean, how many of us lined up outside theaters on the first weekend of the latest Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Matrix installments, the last of which turned out to be terrible? How many of us (again, the youth), waited for nearly a whole day just to get Neil Gaiman to sign our books/comics?

We clearly go to great lengths to pay homage to pop culture icons, and yet we cannot even take the initiative to kick-start our own! I guess the trouble with Filipino pop-culture is that it seems altogether devoid of any icon that we might want to identify ourselves with.

I take solace in knowing how well-received this movie was in the press. In the final analysis, it's the box-office take that determines whether or not a certain type of movie will get made again, but I really hope Gallaga, Tony Gloria and company do not lose hope.

I am already setting aside the couple of hundred pesos that the DVD of this movie will cost. There is no way I will pick up a bootleg copy of this film, because I WILL NOT SCREW THESE FILMMAKERS THE WAY THE GENERAL PUBLIC DID BY IGNORING THIS FILM.



Interesting stuff I picked up over the weekend...

Baby Boom - R-Jay and Leslie gave birth to Anika Nicole Javier last Friday. 7.8 (?) pounds. A very healthy (and white - so I guess Edong's not the dad) baby girl. Congrats R-Jay and Leslie.

BabyBoom II - I heard from someone that AA and Molly are expecting their first child as well. Can anyone confirm this?

Hitch(ed) - I also heard that one Philip Pichay will be getting married in December. True?

Anyway, if ever, congratulations all! Oh, and belated happy birthday Jim!


Pinoy Blonde Part II

I've thus far piqued the curiosity of two j-boys to see Peque Gallaga's latest film, and so I take this as encouragement to be a little more aggressive in my campaign, which I feel more strongly about now that I've actually seen the movie.

Pinoy Blonde is, in my opinion, the best movie I've seen this year (second only to "Sideways", which technically should fall under last year since that was its theatrical release in the country of origin, but never mind; I just want to extol our local movies for a change). Whether this means it's been a bad year for movies in general or that this is really just a good movie, I'll leave that up to you to decide should you actually see it.

The premise is simple: it's about two guys delivering a package for their mobster uncle. It helps that the two guys are film buffs, because thanks to this little character facet the film becomes a tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of Filipino films, and in some ways of film in general.

Think of everything wrong with Filipino movies: the overacting, the cardboard characterization, and the prosaic dialogue. This movie is not afraid to lay it all bare. Whether or not Gallaga intended it to be, this movie, with its digital video and independent sensibility, is the wave of the future, given that studios and overprivileged "artistas" obsessed with the bottom line are increasingly shying away from films given the fact that there isn't that much money in it anymore. This is a movie that says "we made this because we love making movies," and in doing so, it kind of makes an "out with the old, in with the new" declaration.

Technically, is it on a par with its Hollywood counterparts? No, but the brilliant thing is, Gallaga works with his resources. He doesn't make a movie obsessed with apeing megabudget meisters like Spielberg or Cameron. Rather, he draws inspiration from master penny-pincher Quentin Tarantino, whose strengths have always been in razor sharp wit and rich characterization. Well, the latter part isn't quite so nuanced in the case of the two heroes, but the heart is there.

With this, and Mark Meilly's La Visa Loca, Filipino filmmakers are apparently making a hugely heroic effort to divorce themselves from the overwrought melodrama of the past. We should really, really reward their efforts.

In other words: PLEASE see this film.


For comic fans everywhere...

Heh. Remember those jokes about Batman and his fascination with Robin's underpants?

Here's something funny. Check out this site for vedddy inderesding cover art from comics past that are... er... not politically-correct anymore. Or chockful of innuendos anyway.


Change settings

Alright, just wanted to add that due to questions of anonymity, I've decided to use the editing powers given to me by Rhoch to change the comments function that allows anonymity to switch it on to registered users.

That way, at least we have names on the comments board and not this hiding under the anonymous tag. As most of the people who comment here know, you don't have to have a blog in order to comment so don't worry about it.

Likewise, if you're going to use a nickname or pseudonym, please let the others know.

Personally, I have no problems with online names but not with anonymity.

Thanks all...

P.S. Hey Jay! Is it me or does the 4J blog's design keep shutting down? I keep getting a blank box on top of the screen.

over reacting

First of all, my apologies again to all who were offended. Incidentally, R-Jay laughed and asked how I did it. All you have to do is visit www.fakeawish.com and there's a whole slew of funny (or crass, depending on how you look at it). fake news stories, from someone breaking the world masturbation record to the aforementioned coming out of the closet story. They send you a link then all you do is place the name of the "vistim" in the URL. For example, go to http://jay.tan.swellserver.com/news/top_stories/worldrecord.php and see for yourselves this account of my accomplishments.

Again, if I offended your sensibilities, sorry. Thought you'd be used to that by now.


Sara was right...

Check this out guys. Tsk-tsk. I mean, we always had a feeling but it was never confirmed.

The Magician... The Legend

For those of you who weren't able to follow this year's World Pool Championships in Kaoshing, Taiwan, you may be surprised to know that the world's best pool player, our very own Efren Reyes, was eliminated on the second day of the week long tournament. There was a lot of speculation immediately after that stunning loss about his retirement and how "The Magician" may finally be packing up his "magic wand" for good. The following article (among a few others about Efren Reyes) was posted recently on the World Pool Championships web site forum.

Every single Filipino knows who Efren "Bata" Reyes is. What most Filipinos may not know is just how famous and how revered Efren Reyes is in the pool circuits all over the world. Everyone and anyone who plays any cue sport, including snooker and one-pocket billards, knows the name Efren Reyes. The only foreigner to be inducted into the American Billiards Hall of Fame (in 2003), Efren Reyes has been hailed as the greatest pool player the world has ever seen.

I hope you'll all take the time to read the (admittedly lengthy) articles. Through it you'll get to appreciate one of our own true national heroes. We sure could use some good news around this time with all the political turmoil surrounding us (again). There's one good reason why I love billiards. Not only is it such a challenging, mental sport, but mostly, it's one of the few areas where people the world over respect and even fear Filipinos. The Philippines produced Efren "Bata" Reyes, and it will be a long while before the World sees anyone close to Efren's league in terms of talent, skill and sheer genius. I'm sure this magician won't be making any disappearing acts anytime soon.

9-Ball. I love this game!!

"The Magician -- the world's best pool player sees shots no one else can"

"The Magician Takes A Walk"


Pinoy Blonde

I have what might seem an unusual suggestion: let's all get together to watch a Filipino movie.

I'm sure you've all heard of/read of the rapid demise of Philippine cinema with some degree of indifference (I know I have). At the same time, efforts of some Filipino filmmakers whom I respect have come to my attention, such as the output of Unitel pictures, like the recent La Visa Loca, and the upcoming Pinoy Blonde. I honestly regret missing Loca, which was very well reviewed (although I've found that in this country, sometimes that means little), but Blonde is particularly attractive to me because of the director involved: Peque Gallaga.

Yes, if Philippine cinema is to have some kind of revival, I'd much rather have filmmakers like Gallaga, whose Oro, Plata, Mata was, to me, as harrowing as Schindler's List, and who is one of the few Filipino directors out there who puts a premium on both substance and style, lead the way. Shameless plugging, but there's really nothing in it for me.

I just think we can do our part to nurturing an industry that actually makes films and not the trash it's been doing for decades.


Better Days

Remember this?


Spielberg's Still Got It...Sort of...

Steven Spielberg must have some kind of abandonment issues. A brief review of his resume shows a number of kids in peril due to the absence or negligence of their parents. In "Empire of the Sun," Christian Bale's Jim gets separated from his parents due to the turmoil in Shanghai during World War II. In "Hook," a grown-up Peter Pan's kids get whisked away by Captain Hook to Never-Never Land and one of them gets brainwashed, thanks to the fact that Peter Pan is an absentee father. In "Minority Report," the cop played by Tom Cruise is tormented by the fact that his only son was kidnapped from right under his nose at a public pool, of all places.

The trend continues with "War of the Worlds" which has Tom Cruise's self-absorbed divorcee Ray Ferrier transformed into the father he should be by the near-extinction of the human race at the hands of a bunch of alien invaders. People who think that this movie represents uncovered ground for Spielberg clearly haven't looked back at his filmography, but admittedly, it still has its good points. And it still reaffirms my faith in him somehow. Those wary of some minor spoilers, feel free to avoid the review that follows...

For example, and in my opinion most of all, this movie demonstrates that in this day and age of maverick directors and a new generation of Spielbergs (like Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, the Wachowski Brothers and Christopher Nolan, to name a few) Steven still has a number of tricks up his sleeve that still set him apart as a master filmmaker. The best example of this is a freeway sequence where the camera seems to actually follow the speeding van driven by Ray for a full five minutes, zooming in on their conversations and pulling back to show the speeding vehicle. To my mind it's possible ILM trickery was involved in this sequence, but knowing how Spielberg always seems to be on the cutting edge of everything, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't. This is exactly the kind of innovation that has made him who he still is, recent critical and box-office misfires notwithstanding.

And of course, evident from the film is that nearly a quarter-century after Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg has yet to lose his sense of scope. In this day and age where just about everything is digital, it would have been easy to write off the gigantic death machines piloted by the alien invaders as nothing but more CGI plastered onto the screen. In Spielberg's hands, however, they aren't. They FEEL larger than life. They look and even sound terrifying, and are, in my opinion, more than the sum of their pixels. Seeing these things on the screen made me wish I could have seen this movie in IMAX. Their design, actually a faithful nod to H.G. Wells' conceptualization of the machines, is actually a little goofy and, according to the laws of physics, somewhat awkward, but watching them in action still managed to dazzle me.

Finally, Spielberg STILL has that eye for images that linger. Remember the pink-clad little girl in Schindler's List? Or the brutal death scenes of a number of the soldiers in Saving Private Ryan? There are a number of similarly gut-wrenching scenes in War of the Worlds, one involving dozens of dead bodies floating in a river and another involving a burning train hurtling by hundreds of dazed refugees. Yes, although this was certainly intended as a summer popcorn movie, Spielberg has infused it with plenty of the harrowing sensibility he cultivated making those two World War II movies. I'm still not decided on whether or not this was done in good taste, but the images by themselves were undeniably powerful.

Anyway, lest this sound like some love letter to Spielberg (though I suppose it's too late for that) the film was not without its flaws. For one thing, the plotline that held all these brilliant set pieces together was not just thin, it was practically threadbare, and pockmarked with cliches, not only in the form of the negligent parent, but plot devices and sequences recycled from some of Spielberg's old movies. There is a scene there that is definitely reminiscent of the one in Jurassic Park where the two kids hide out from hungry raptors. And Tom Cruise, while a competent actor, is definitely not a great one, and I think he's already past that point in his career where it's safe to say he never will be. Thank God for Dakota Fanning.

I wouldn't characterize War of the Worlds as a must-see movie. Personally, I managed to enjoy it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to persuade the naysayers and the Cruise-haters. I will say that this movie is cause for some relief, because if nothing else it demonstrates that Steven Spielberg isn't quite ready to be put out to pasture yet.