It’s finally November, and I’ve seen the Deathly Hallows…

Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.

Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.

Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.

Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.

The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.

The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.

Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.

It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.

I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.


Nitpicking
There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.

I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.

I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.

I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.

Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.

There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.

July is still so far away.

Wizard Madness

If there’s anything I’d go crazy about, it’s Harry Potter. While I haven’t gone all rabid like some fans have, I still am rather ga-ga over the franchise. Crushing on Ron, impatiently waiting for the last two movies to see the much awaited Ron-Hermionie kiss (I have a feeling that this is the pairing people are waiting for, more than Harry and Ginny, whose romance, IMO, is very lackluster).

Warner has officially released ten (or so?) TV ads for the movie in their official YouTube. I watched all of them in less than five minutes and I was dancing in my seat. Slashfilm also posted a video courtesy of Yahoo on some quick, behind-the-scenes look at the Deathly Hallows.

You can see various scenes that weren’t in the previously released clips. Knowing that half of them won’t be seen until next year is making me pretty angsty, but I can wait. Impatiently.

Slashfilm also mentioned in this article that the Harry Potter franchise is quite possibly the most epic movie in the history of entertainment. While we can’t argue that the Star Wars franchise is also big, it doesn’t have the continuity of HP. For one, there are eight movies all in all. Two, the people in the movies are pretty much the same people from Day 1 (with the exception of the late Sir Richard Harris). Lastly, the movies are open-ended, making each one connected to the other, thus making it “a perfect circle”. I can’t help but agree.

November 19 is coming very soon.

PS. Sorry, I’m too lazy to find the links. Will edit later. 🙂

I’ve just seen Toy Story 3 and I’ve got spoilers

I just saw Toy Story 3 (yes, weeks late, I know) with my sister and I had one of the most enjoyable times ever. Kids my age (yes, I’m a kid haha) would definitely have a fun time with it. Toys are toys, but it’s far more enjoyable in so many ways.

I don’t do reviews (because I find it hard not to gush or bash and just be objective), but here are my thoughts on the movie. Warning: Spoilers, and possible nonsense.

  • Recognizable toys – Since Toy Story 3 is about toys Andy’s outgrown, there are no fancy gadgets here. At most, you get battery operated toys (like Buzz) and a few others. Many are action figures, stuffed toys and dolls. I was very amused to see Totoro (of Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro”) among Bonnie’s toys. I squealed, yes.
  • Any one who’s played with toys as a kid and have outgrown them can recognize Andy’s concern when he realized his mom had thrown out his favorite toys, ones that he’s kept all those years (you’ll also see the parallelism of this to the first Toy Story, where Andy was moving to a new place and he thought he lost Woody and Buzz). You’ll also be able to relate, I’m sure, to the last part where he was giving them away and was very reluctant to part with Woody.
  • Ken. OMG. He’s so gay, but he’s not. I would presume his personality is because he is a girl’s toy (no matter how hard he protests). He may be flashy and vain, but I think he’s really a manly man.
  • References to other toys. “I know you don’t know me from G.I. Joe!” This had me laughing because I used to pair my Barbie with my brother’s G.I. Joe, wishing they were taller and bigger so they’d be more compatible with my doll.
  • Buzz’s Spanish mode and dance. Wahahahaha. Nuff said.
  • Poor Woody. Bo Peep’s gone. 🙁 It’s presumed that somewhere between the TS2 and TS3 she either got sold off at a garage sale or donated somewhere.
  • Effin’ creepy Baby Doll. My great-grandma had one and it’s still around at our house in Zambales. I usually yell when I come across it while digging through old stuff. I don’t know why they kept it.
  • The trolls on the train. My god, I really, really laughed out loud. It was embarrassing but dammit, I didn’t care. My best friend had a cabinet full of those stuff, while I had one and it came from a old crush who got me for Kris Kringle back in 6th grade.
  • I literally teared up at the last scene, where Andy gave Bonnie his toys and had one last play time with them. You can see the likeness of that with the first TS and the opening scenes of this movie. Just goes to show that no matter how old you are, there’s still a kid inside you.

On a side note, I loved the short at the start, “Day and Night” (or was it “Night and Day”). Best part? The sunrise/sunset.
There’s probably more I’ll remember, but for now, that’s it. I hope you got to see this movie. It’s truly enjoyable.

From Friday to Friday

I’ve been really lazy with blogging in past year or two. When I first started I could write about three entries a day. Now, I’m lucky if I would get in the mood to write one a week. I’ve got tons of drafts, but hardly get them posted. I must change that.

For now, I’m going to go through my week really quick, if you’re interested.

Friday, April 23
Went with Presea to Saleng: The Traveling Bonfires at Conspiracy Bar & Garden Cafe on Lornadahl‘s invite. It’s a fund-raising event for ACAY (Association Compassion Asian Youth), a non-profit humanitarian service organization for youth at risk and run under the Missionaries of Mary. Screening of several short films (my favorite was Khavn de la Cruz’ “Cans and Slippers”), poetry reading (best poems of the night were from Of Wisdom and Love) and music was the entertainment of the night. Artists like The Sleepyheads, Anak ni Aling Juana, Ka-Laya, The Late Isabel and one of the ACAY beneficiaries performed to a very appreciative audience.

I enjoyed The Sleepyheads, as Jayvee del Rosario’s playing style reminded me so much of Gene Krupa. Conrad Garcia’s words (poems turned lyrics) were hypnotizing and inspiring. I had a great time with my friends, even though I had to leave early (early by Lornadahl’s standards haha).



Sunday, April 25
I met with Drew late in the afternoon to watch Kick Ass. Since we didn’t make the 4pm screening, we went around the nearby shops to pass time. I had him taste Dr. Pepper (which comes in ridiculously small cans now), looked at comics, furniture shops (I saw an Eero Aarnio ball chair, not sure if it was an original but it sure looked like one) then headed to food court. He had his early dinner, while I just nommed on hakkao from President’s (ironic that I had it here instead of Binondo). While waiting we saw some men sleeping at the Glorietta 4 park. It started off with one man, then two, then three. I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene.

Kick Ass was great! Bloody, violent, but fun and in an odd way, sexy. I liked the audience too, because they just watched appreciatively and reacted well to the scenes. No irritating commentators (like when we saw HTTYD), and I got to love the two guys in front of me who moved to different seats, leaving the seats in front of Drew and me clear. Yeeha. No more obstacles! Thanks for the movie Drew 🙂

Monday, April 26
My grandpa arrived the night before, to my surprise, because I thought it was going to be my dad and my brother. Turns out Lolo had his check-up scheduled so he had to come here. Miks accompanied him for his morning appointment, while I went with him to his evening appointment which we almost missed. The findings were good, his heart and cholesterol were normal and healthy for someone his age (going on 85), but the doctor wanted to check his kidneys. I hope that turns out well too.

Thursday, April 29
Salary came in early and I immediately set aside a substantial amount for savings. I didn’t want to end up using all up of my money and not knowing where it went. Lunch was free since the company was hosting a birthday luncheon for all the April celebrants (something they do monthly). My only expense was the iced caramel macchiato I got when the team went to Starbucks. My boss gave me a mug as a gift, which was actually a request from me.

There were some parlor games during the lunch too. My team lost, because the guys didn’t want to strip. The team that won had the guys stripping down to just their pants, much to the audience’s delight. I didn’t get a prize but since one of the winners already had one before, he gave me his extra. Yay!

After work, I headed to Cubao to meet my family. Tita Marilyn was here with her husband for my cousin Biboy’s oath-taking to the bar. We had dinner at Seafood Island and had a great time. The food was great, the company more amazing. It was wonderful to see my cousins, and get some goodies from Dumaguete. Tita knows how much I love the chicharon there.

Nunik and Cindy arrived home a little later from their road trip up north. They told us stories of what they did, and showed us the stuff they got. Nunik bought two kilos of Vigan longganisa, which I shall cook tomorrow.

Friday, April 30
For lunch, the team went to Cafe Lydia in Marikina. Our manager Mryla suggested this as a sort of belated birthday blowout. It’s a “hole in the wall” place, and I can’t tell you how to get there except ride a jeep from Pasig and when you get to Marikina, it’ll pass by there. I had some pasta with bacon and mushroom sauce, and we had anchovy pizza and buffalo wings for appetizers. It’s a lovely place, with great food (the servings are more than enough for one person) at a very affordable price. Lunch and dinner usually require reservation due to number of people who come there but our lunchtime visit had only a few diners, surprisingly.

Oh, and we did three cities in 5 minutes. Yeah. 🙂

Tomorrow, I’ll be seeing my friends. I hope we make it to where we want to go. Details after.

Slow Sunday

I went out in the morning to watch “Alice in Wonderland.” I expected a lot of people but from experience, watching the first show scheduled is usually the best time because there’s not much people. Of course if you could get your tickets in advance, so much the better but I suppose that depends on the theater.

I won’t spoil it by yapping on about it, but suffice to say a Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter project is often always a winner in my book. Not to mention there’s a few other of my favorite people there, namely Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry. Anne Hathaway was lovely too, and I couldn’t help but find similarities in her actions to her role in “Princess Diaries.” If you’ve seen both movies, you’ll know what I mean.

Too bad I don’t have pictures of the posters (which I’d love to collect) or the cardboard stand things. I’d love to watch this movie again (and I probably will over the weekend).

SM Megamall had this activity for Iron Man 2 and there were these cosplayers the kids were posing with.

A sticker in the FX I was riding. I agree, but somehow some people don’t know that they have bad body odor.

Sign somewhere outside our place. It’s actually quite hidden and I wouldn’t have spotted it if the trike didn’t stop at this particular part.

My dad & grandpa are here for the latter’s monthly check-up. We went to SM Marikina (I’m surrounded by SMs!) for some errands and they had their hair cut. I would also like to apologize for my “katarayan” to the attendant at Octagon. I think my dad was surprised too. Hehe.

P.S. The weather is quite terrible.

UP… and down :p

I have a confession to make. I watched “UP” twice, and both times, I cried.

Not that it was a sad movie (I am warning you now if you hate spoilers… STOP READING!). It was actually very enjoyable and great for a lot of laughs. However, there was a part — and a pretty significant one at that — where you couldn’t help but tear up as the story goes along.

“UP” isn’t just about the adventures of Carl Fredrickson and Russell. It is also the story of a boy who met a girl, loved her, lived a wonderful life with her, and even though maybe it wasn’t exactly what they had dreamed of, they were very happy. It is a story of how the boy lost the girl many years later, and how he decided it was time to fulfill her dream, as he had nothing left to lose.

“UP” is a love story. It’s funny and it’s light, but it will touch a chord in you that will make you reach for the tissues as it goes along. It will also make your realize that even though our bodies may be limited, it’s still possible to have an adventure. And in the words of Russell, “It’s the boring things that I remember the most.”

Be sure to watch “UP” ok? Cross your heart.

P.S. So that’s where babies really come from LOL

P.P.S. I’d like to share this entry by my gradeschool/high school classmate Karl: “12 Things I learned from Pixar’s UP“. Half humor, all truths. Here as well is the colour script of UP from Lou Romano. Enjoy!

Half-Blood Prince thoughts

I saw “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” twice: once with my siblings, and once with my friends. I re-read the book a few days before, just to refresh my memory with the story (not that I’m quite unfamiliar with it haha).

There were many liberties taken with the how the movie was made, as with the previous ones. Some things were changed to fit the movie’s flow and make away with heavy explanations, like how it was Luna who discovered Harry on the train instead of Tonks.

There were also the addition of scenes that weren’t in the book, but fit well in the movie by setting a tone that shows how serious The Deathly Hallows will be. Also, there are scenes added that may not be in the The Half-Blood Prince but will be in DH, like the opening scene at Diagon Alley and when Snape was talking to Dumbledore in the tower.

I enjoyed the banter and humor of the movie, but felt that the action was a bit dull, and everything after the scene where Harry got the memory was rather anti-climactic. I suddenly lost all interest in watching it and wanted to have more of the humorous moments. I wanted to see more of Ron (the part where he ate all the chocolates up to the part where he was at the hospital wing is among my favorites), more Quidditch, more of the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezies. But I suppose that can’t be.

The movie wasn’t quite what I expected, and I wasn’t that at all thrilled with the latter part of the movie. Dumbledore’s death was sort of “meh,” and I was far more moved when Slughorn said a few words for Aragog (must be the mountain shot). I did like, however, the part where McGonagall lifted her wand to cast Lumos, then everyone did the same.

On the whole, I did enjoy the movie, despite my nitpicking. I did think that for a moment, I was watching “Lord of the Rings” when they went to get the locket.

Fangirl mode on

Forgive me if I’m going to start gushing. I’ve been a longtime fan of the Harry Potter series, starting from the moment I read the first book during a vacation to my mom’s hometown in Bicol. My cousin bought her copy and I wasn’t really interested, but I was bored, so I read it… and never stopped.

During the previews while watching “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” I didn’t expect to see the trailer. I was talking to Drew when the trailer for “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” started. I gasped, and shut up. It didn’t matter that I had seen it before, and that I knew what was going to happen to the story since yeah hello, it was based on the book.

There’s so much to it that makes me enjoy the entire Harry Potter world. Granted it’s not perfect, and there has been many criticisms to it in the past (the writing, the similarities to other stories, the not-so-good ending, not to mention the talks on the book being anti-Christianity and all that), but you can’t deny that it is good entertainment.

Today, without meaning to, my fangirl mode was engaged, thanks to a post by Leejay over at Tumlr: Rupert Grint dressed up in a tuxedo with the bow untied and drink in hand. Geez, and this kid’s only twenty!


I purposely resized it

The picture made me go to RupertGrint.net and found more goodies, including the interview that had that picture. Hah. So it’s not actually a Harry Potter fangirlism but more of Rupert Grint fangirlism 😛


OMG You guys

I’ll shut up now. But I found some really great photos, thanks to that RG site, and I decided to re-visit the site of my favorite Harry Potter fan artist: Hito76. It occurred to me that the picture above has a resemblance to Hito76’s drawing, but to clarify, the picture came after the drawing. 🙂


Once again, resized :p

Yes, I’m unabashedly a Ron-Hermionie shipper. Can’t wait for July!

Yeah, I’m jumping on the Transformers 2 blog bandwagon, sue me

Yesterday was Manila Day, so we didn’t have work. It was a welcome reprieve from the hectic workweek, and it was right in the middle of it too.

Drew and I watched “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” early in the morning (the drawbacks of night shift haha, or is it advantage? We had our pick of the theaters and there were no lines). Verdict? Well, it wasn’t bad for me, but it wasn’t good either. If last year I was raving about it, now… I’d say it was more of a so-so movie, with a storyline that makes sense — but it was the little things in between that make you go “Huh?”

I’m not even sure if everything was resolved, and I don’t even want to think about it. Granted there were plenty of funny scenes, and the action wasn’t something you could complain about much (Drew called the fight scenes “robot ballet”), but somehow the entire movie was missing something.

I had a hard time distinguishing the the Autobots and Decepticons in most of the fight scenes, despite the color in most of the former. I feel like the Autobots were underplayed in the movie, focusing mostly on Prime and Sam… and Mikaela haha.

Overall, I’d watch it again, but it’ll get old really fast. I wouldn’t even recommend you let your kid watch it. They’d be better off watching the original cartoons (which always springs to mind every time Optimus speaks).

Ah well.

Monster daze

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t actually call this a review, as I feel that I’m not good at them, but more of just my quick thoughts on the movie itself. I tried not so put spoilers though.

Compared to its predecessors in the computer animation world, such as The Incredibles or Monsters Inc. or Cars, Monsters vs. Aliens is a very light movie, plot-wise but also in terms of running time (about an hour and 45 minutes). I didn’t feel any anticipation (you know, the “Uh oh, what happens next?” feeling) as the story went along, nothing exciting like the climax or conflict.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the movie. On the contrary, I found Monsters vs. Aliens a pretty good watch. For me, the story is simple and you can easily see where it’s headed. In a way, the outcome of the movie is a tad predictable. So what makes it attractive?

Animation-wise, I was impressed by the textures of the characters’ skin. The freckles and pores on Susan’s face were clearly seen, showing realism that wasn’t possible some years ago. Check out the scales on Link’s body, or the movement of the hairs on the giant insect’s body.

The dialogue, the tongue-in-cheek one lines and innuendos had me laughing for most of the movie. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was any meaning to the the president’s portrayal (but he was good for a lot of laughs throughout the movie). I also wondered if it’s a testament to my age or geekiness that I could identify a few references to other pop-culture icons.

Again, I don’t find Monsters vs. Aliens an awesome movie, but it’s a good watch if you want to relax and just have a good laugh.

Got my cannoli
On the recommendation of a friend via Plurk, I headed to Marciano’s in Greenbelt 3 to finally get me some of my long desired cannoli. Drew wasn’t feeling well so he skipped trying it. It wasn’t bad. The crust was crunchy, with the insides softened by the creamy strawberry flavored filling. I didn’t know if it was cream or cheese though (but I know most cannoli’s are filled with a cheese based mixture).

I’ll try to make some of my own one of these days.

what more…
The guy known as Secondhand Serenade was doing a soundcheck as we left GB3. Either that, or his concert was woefully under-attended. I hope it was the former.

Spent a few minutes in Powerbooks, looking for something to get and read but the books I wanted were way over my budget. Didn’t find anything in Booksale later on either, so I’m determined to head to Recto for something. Waiting for payday though.

spotted
At the dimsum section of Shopwise in Cubao