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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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D’Angelo finally shows up

December 23, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Music

Kindle a blaze in this dark world.

December 22, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies

It’s the Winter Solstice, which is not a mysterious super-soldier revealed to be someone from Captain America’s past, but the point at which the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the sun. Druids marks it as the sun’s “rebirth” for the New Year.

Fine, we don’t have winter here in the tropics, but we buy the Fall/Winter collections of international retail brands sold in local malls, so we can’t be sure.

To mark the Winter Solstice, here are the lyrics to the song the Princess sang in Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, which all good film nerds know is the basis for Star Wars.

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Remember that.

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Holiday presents for completists

December 22, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies, Notebooks

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We feel about the limited edition The Hobbit Moleskine clothbound notebook the same way we feel about the third episode in The Hobbit trilogy: We’ll get it because we have the previous editions, and we kind of like it, but we acknowledge that it doesn’t have to exist.

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This one is boxed and clothbound. Yay. (Say that exactly the way Sean Bean’s Boromir in the mines of Moria said, “They have a cave troll.”) With a handwriting sample of J.R.R. Tolkien’s on the cover, so more money for his descendants.

And there’s a map in it…just like the earlier notebooks. What a surprise.

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The endpapers are facsimiles of the original illustrations by Tolkien, and there are 7 pages of illustrations and 8 quotes inside—the same illustrations and quotes that appear in last year’s notebook and the year before last year’s notebook.

However, this Hobbit Moleskine is available only with lined pages, no version with plain pages. We prefer plain pages because strangely, we can write straight lines, but when there are lines our writing goes in all directions.

The Hobbit Moleskine boxed and clothbound notebook is available at National Bookstores, Php2,240.

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Speaking of new isn’t necessarily better, there’s a new Lego Moleskine notebook in blue.

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Compare it to the black one that came out a couple of years ago.

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True, this one has stickers so you can customize the cover…

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Naah, it doesn’t make that much difference. Available at National Bookstores, Php1,580.

It’s back to plain monochromatic Moleskines for us for now.

Grantland’s Pulitzer-winning film critic Wesley Morris names Norte his #1 movie of 2014

December 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies

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1. Norte, the End of History

Lav Diaz’s contemplation of life after someone else’s death taxis a runway for the first 35 of its 250 majestic minutes. Once it takes off, you can’t believe you’re flying. You don’t want to land. The story, set in the Philippines, of a man wrongly imprisoned for murder, the wife he’s left behind, and the moral rot of the real killer, is like a work of philosophical and spiritual origami — Dostoyevsky with human levitation and mood lighting. The movie roves wastelands; it climbs to heaven. With each passing scene, Diaz finds new ways of compounding the visual and emotional scope of the film, reaching a degree of artistry that provokes an involuntary response. When it ended the first time I saw it, I stood up, with tears in my eyes, and clapped. The second time, I just sat in my seat, awed by what Diaz had achieved, and perplexed as to how. On neither occasion did I feel like I had simply gone to a movie. I had answered the call of God.

Read The Top 10 Movies of 2014.

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Norte didn’t make it to the shortlist of 9 movies that will be whittled down to 5 nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but thank you for believing.

The 9 “semi-finalists”: Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (Russia), Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (Poland), Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (Sweden), Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu (Mauritania), Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales (Argentina), Alberto Arvelo’s The Liberator (Venezuela), Paula van der Oest’s Accused (Netherlands), George Ovashvili’s Corn Island (Georgia), and Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines (Estonia).

Other contenders that did not make the short list: the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night (Belgium), Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep (Turkey), Xavier Dolan’s Mommy (Canada).

Read about it in The Guardian, The AV Club.

Hannibal: Artisanal, organic, absolutely not cruelty-free

December 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Monsters, Television

Television is so overpopulated with serial killers, you have to wonder how there’s anyone left to make TV shows, much less watch them. There are misogynistic serial killers (the British series The Fall), Lovecraftian serial killers (True Detective season 1), serial killers coveting other people’s families (Those Who Kill), serial killers seeking revenge (Wallander), and even serial killers of serial killers (Dexter).

What does the audience’s fascination with methodical, murderous psychopaths say about the times we live in? I propose a crossover TV series in which the serial killers compete to be the last one standing, and then I would put all my money on Hannibal Lecter. Not only is he the most famous of the lot, crowned with Oscars, with several books and movies to his name, but in the NBC series created by Bryan Fuller, he is the cleverest, most refined, best-dressed, neatest person alive, not to mention a fabulous cook.

Read The Binge, our TV column at Business World.

A French-Filipino bistro in Paris

December 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places

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Cuttlefish in ink and spicy cabbage at Le Servan. Credit Edouard Sepulchre

Restaurant Report: Le Servan, Iya’s daughter’s restaurant.