La la Land

Uncanny Saturday afternoon when Jean, Tish and I had to rush to Robinson’s Magnolia, to catch a screening of La la Land. I asked: What?

My two girls rattled about seven Golden Globe awards including Best Picture. I think.

I sort of thought, if it was Best Picture, why is no one swooning gaga over it on facebook? I would have noticed.

Anyways, I went along, wondering about the title. If it’s Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, it’s a treat.

Excitement hushed as I took a bite on my organic chicken burrito. Nah. It was the Los Angeles highway packed with traffic scene, and young people started hopping out of their cars, swaying to a rolling twenties(?) music. I remembered Jean and Tish saying this film garnered Best Music, too.

Okay, a musical. After enduring High School Musical for my two teens a decade ago, I swore I will not watch any teeny boppy flick.

But there goes the story, a man and a woman, Sebastian, a jazz pianist, and Mia, a talented actress auditioning for her place in the theater, accidentally meeting each other here and there, and because of one incidence too many, decided to be together. For four seasons.

It would have been a good love story, except for the part that both are in search of their dreams. As destiny would have it, Mia got her role in Broadway, and Sebastian, after a touring stint with a modern jazz band, built his own jazz bar.

Fast forward five years later, Mia comes back to Los Angeles, now a deemed theater artist, with her husband and a toddler of a daughter. And by some strange pull, she is led to Seb’s, Sebastian’s jazz nook.

And the two saw each other again. No hellos. No words. Just a look and an acknowledgement that, I suppose, they have reached their respective dreams.

Do I like it?

My daughters were disappointed. I had my reservations. Will hold my comments until further feelings arise from reviewing the film in my mind.

And now, after two days, here I am, trying to find the satisfaction one expects from watching a movie.

If this was Best Picture, surely it would have a great impact on me. There was none. Sadly.

And so I had to think more. Those Golden Globe judges must have seen something that would have impacted the viewers.

And so I came up with credits for this movie, even if in my view it is a tragedy.

First, it is a story of the ordinary people. The dreamers, specifically.
Which brings me to the title that I googled for meaning, La la Land, meaning “Los Angeles or Hollywood, especially with regard to the lifestyle and attitudes of those living there or associated with it; a fanciful state or dreamworld.”

These ordinary people have this illusion that their lives will only have meaning if they attain their dreams. And, more often, they miss out on one important thing: LOVE. These dreamers mistake that success and happiness can only be achieved after realizing their dreams. And love can be set at bay. These dreamers, unbeknownst to themselves, have been reduced to a mechanical existence, mere robots, or even slaves of their own passion. Thus, the tragedy.

Second, this movie brought isms for revaluation. The idealist and the realist, for one, comes in conflict. Holding on to tradition, as sustaining the art form of original jazz, for another, as against reinventing the music to fit in to the new techno-aided sound.

Third, the slow, or rather seemingly unhurried presentation of events, as contrasted to the quick flashback of what could have been, allowed the audience to create misgivings, hoping, as I did, that I could have my happy ending. Nah, again. It was a ploy utilized to make the viewer own the tragedy. For who amongst us did not miss on true love, and lived with what we bargained for.

Fourth, the music was jazzy, and it brought the audience, including the juvenile, to a time melancholic, like dream time.

There are many other things worth commenting about, such as the acting, remarkable, and the costumes, appropriate and nice, ha ha, and the dancing, and the museums, and the stars. Oh, well. But I leave that for others to see.

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Fill in the gaps.

Do I like Star Wars?

Well, like Harrison Ford. you can omit me from the discussion. Enough of the force and Darth Vader for me, especially so when the rise to evil of Anakin disillusioned many a fan that evil could be so fascinating.

Yet, with my daughters, I found myself in sync with the millennials watching the sequel hoping to know whatever happened to Luke Skywalker. Who would not want to know. After all, there is a Jedi in all of us.

The demise of Hans Solo was the last straw. Every one was talking about Ford wanting an end to his character, and I wondered if only I had seen it was a cinematic technique from Oedipus Rex, that the son will slay the father in a place where three roads meet. With Hans, it was on a bridge that hanged over a pit.

Suffice it to say that bringing back the Star Wars characters of my youth fascinated me, even if the new characters are totally millennial in action and disposition. Oh well.

Surprises of surprises, my daughter brought me yesterday to a movie treat called Rogue One. I asked right outside the theater at Century Mall if the movie was starring Baymax? My daughters sighed in disgust. They filled me in that this was a side story in Star Wars.

And I found myself enjoying a rebel group led by a lady, offering their lives, with only courage and resolve, to secure a document from Darth Vader’s Imperial Globe, a document that shows a loophole, or a fault, or the Death Star’s Achilles Heels, that which makes the sinister headquarters vulnerable.

The lady heroine is known as Star Dust, a romantic name given by her parents to a child whose life’s story is as contrary to her poetic alias. She was brought up by a questionable creature after her mother was killed and her father taken. Yet, her child’s longing for father remained, as a star dust does in the vast multitude in the galaxy.

So I found myself loving Star Wars again. And if may mention, to spoil you further, that the force is strong, with the Jedi perhaps descendants of ancient arts born from the cold Himalayas, I don’t know really.

No way to end this piece but to say that “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”

Civil War

Written last Wednesday. The internet went down. Posting only today.

Civil War opened today. My daughter Tish and I sat on the first screening.

Oh well, the Captain America series, if I recall right the trilogies of the Avengers, is perhaps the most incredible. The third installment that I had the most exciting and fun time watching was a real treat.

Civil War is an all super heroes cast, except for my two other favorites, Thor and Hulk. The rest of my favorites include Iron Man, his friend War Machine (does he go by another name?) Hawk-eye, Black Widow, Falcon, Ant Man. Surprise, surprise, Spider Boy did spin his web. And new characters such as the Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, make up the other warriors.

Kudos to the script writers for getting a fantastic choreography of the super powers, all in search of Bucky, the Winter Soldier, for reasons personal and tragic.

If you can’t remember the Winter Soldier, he is Steve Rogers’ best friend.

I want to put my excitement here, but my daughter said that would be tantamount to you wanting to terminate me, So I will wait till you get to see the movie.

Hmmmm. Now I know what happened to Howard. Sorry. I can’t restrain myself.

Spectre: the unraveling of a specter.

Spectre begins with a dire foreboding, the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, a culture seemingly grotesque. for the living enlivens the dead, in a peculiarly festive way.  Strange though it may be, it is a fitting opening, a foreshadowing of what is to come, for the world’s most famous secret service spy, his secret known to everyone, except perhaps, everyone who has lived with the MI6 for the past half century, has grappled as to why Bond was Bond,  a man alone unto himself.

The SPECTRE is a fictitious acronym which stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism Revenge and Extortion, for the demise of the MI6 or the British Secret Service. For all intents and purposes, fault was assigned to the distinguished characters: M, Q, Moneypenny, and 007

And while the eradication of the secret service seems inevitable, a specter arises. A phantom. A ghost from Bond’s archrivals arises, too. A juxtaposition of two impending deaths: the secret service and Bond’s own.

Thus the cardiac high-action, sniping, bombing, and inverted helicopter flying, or falling. in  Mexico City, where the dead comes to life.

But all at once, the movie transports to holy Rome, the city that encapsulates the glory of the past. Bond follows another lead, and discovers that there’s more than meets the eye. But of course, that is always what Bond story lines are about. But the motion is set. Bond gets an eye view of who his nemesis are, even if it was a little obscured, or darkened.

There was a reference to Tokyo, an allusion that most likely implies how Bond’s every move is seen. Thus it was imperative that Bond himself was injected with a GPS. And in all the succeeding scenes, a specter follows.

At the icy Alpine Austria, Bond finds the daughter of an enemy, the enemy who was set to make Bond’s life miserable. The daughter is  a therapeutic doctor. and she brought Bond to her father’s honeymoon nook, the very same place that archived Bond’s story, from being an orphan, to a skill filled days cruising the mountains with his adoptive father,  to the disgust of his step brother.

In sharp contrast to the snowy mountains, Bond and the lady doctor were ushered into the center of an arid  desert, where a meteorite once landed to earth. And here Bond meets his step brother, the very same one who was reported to have died with his father in a snow avalanche. And all the past two decades, his step brother was scheming on executing his revenge on the orphan boy who found favor in the eyes of his father.

The step brother was the brainchild of SPECTRE, designed not just to have a domination of the world, but more importantly, to ensure the wicked end meant only for the boy with the blue eyes. James Bond.

So the story unraveled.  And 007’s story is now complete.

Daniel Craig essayed the James Bond role magnificently.  Gosh, he is so fit and agile. The curtain calls for a final vow for this actor, and the jalopy is definitive enough.

But gosh again, I have enjoyed Bond movies all my life, but Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre gave the most profound and in-depth picture of the spy. He was a man, after all.

Licensed to kill? No, not at all. That was the spy bound by duty to pull the trigger. And that’s another point. Bond threw his pistol.  Definitive enough. He is licensed to kill no more.

Doctors Dancing

Nope, this is not a Broadway nor West End production. No professional dancer here, just a group of student doctors from St. Luke’s College of Medicine, taking a tough break from their transes  (med readings), and find out if they could break a leg.

A modern interpretation of “Alamat ng Pinya,” or the Legend of the Pineapple.

On Seinfeld and the human specie.

In the international news today: Jerry Seinfeld, the famous television comedian a decade past believes he has autism. He declares he is a very literal person, and the expression “You are the apple of my eye” confuses him, because he searches for an apple in the eye.

Okay, here’s my problem of over a decade old that finds solution just today. The highly popular Seinfeld comedy program was totally incomprehensible to me. I do remember trying to watch the comedy by straining my auditory nerves just to understand what the show was all about. After a few weeks of painstaking viewing, I gave up and decided I was not intelligent enough for high level comedy, and consoled myself that that was because Seinfeld was American sarcasm at its best. And only Americans can laugh at their own selves.

Now I am vindicated as an ordinary human. I, of course, suggest that the ones who laughed at Seinfeld, laugh again, and this time, at their own selves, for they never actually understood Seinfeld, unless they have autism, mild or not.

Which brings me to a contention I argued upon long ago: humans are mutating.
BAZINGA.