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Archive for February, 2009

When plot falters, give them another close-up of John Lloyd

February 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 14 Comments →

Notes on You Changed My Life, directed by Cathy Garcia Molina, starring John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo.

1. The sound is Manila jeepney quality. Apparently the sound was recorded, edited and mixed on a karaoke machine.

2. The top-grossing Filipino movie of 2007 (outside the Metro filmfest): Star Cinema’s One More Chance directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and starring John Lloyd Cruz.

The top-grossing Filipino movie of 2008: Star Cinema’s A Very Special Love directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and starring John Lloyd Cruz.

The top-grossing Filipino movie of 2009 (by our indicator: full house on a Friday night): Star Cinema’s You Changed My Life directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and starring John Lloyd Cruz.

At least 50 percent of these movies consist of close-ups of John Lloyd Cruz.

3. Sarah Geronimo seems pleasant enough so we don’t understand why she’s made to wear Davy Crockett’s hat. At first it was sitting up and begging for peanuts. Later it looked like the raccoon had died.

4. Rayver Cruz is very white and has Angelina Jolie lips.

5. It’s a sequel so if you didn’t watch A Very Special Love you won’t be able to follow the plot. I’m kidding.

6. John’s character runs a publishing company called Flippage. One syllable less and I would’ve sued.

7. Somebody says “I love you” every 45 seconds. We get it, they love each other.

8. Wow, full coverage of a children’s party. In olden times men had to do battle for the love of a woman. Now they just have to do the statue dance.

9. Movie starring John Lloyd Cruz means paracetamol product placement means all his movies must show someone with a headache. Why don’t you just give tablets away at the entrance? No pizza this time, though.

10. Upon seeing the bridesmaid’s dress we were seized with an uncontrollable urge to eat sapin-sapin.

11. What might tear them apart: he can’t drive her to work and drive her home to Marikina every day because he’s running a company in Laguna. Honey, if you want to see your boyfriend every single day, you should date the unemployed.

12. Mandatory humiliation in final scene: Star Cinema’s winning formula.

Geopolitics and your relationship

February 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Re-lay-shun-ships 1 Comment →

To begin with, any romantic partnership is essentially an alliance, and alliances are a core concept on international relations. Alliances bring many benefits to the members (or else why would we form them?) but as we also know, they sometimes reflect irrational passions and inevitably limit each member’s autonomy. Many IR theorists believe that institutionalizing an alliance makes it more effective and enduring, but that’s also why making a relationship more formal is a significant step that needs to be carefully considered.

Stephen Walt: IR theory for lovers, in FP.

Makati Murder Mystery

February 27, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Pointless Anecdotes 1 Comment →


Photo: I Lego NY by Christoph Newman in the Abstract City blog.

So I’m in a taxi on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon, crawling through the traffic on McKinley Road, and we stop at a red light. The driver opens the glove compartment and takes out a sheaf of papers. I don’t mean to look but I can read the print clearly over his shoulder. I wish I hadn’t looked because it’s a document issued by a Regional Trial Court. A warrant of arrest.

For Murder.

I straighten up in my seat. This is more interesting information than I’m used to reading in a taxi on a Tuesday afternoon. Also more disturbing information than one hopes to hear in a moving vehicle, even if it’s caught in traffic. Unless that’s the driver’s typing exam, someone has been killed, and the driver may have had something to do with it.

No, I’m not getting out of this cab, what am I, nuts? It’s hot, the traffic’s awful, try getting a cab on this street at this hour…

Emotional Weather Report, today in the Star.

Isn’t it morantic.

February 26, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Re-lay-shun-ships 2 Comments →

I Saw You. . .is an anthology of comics inspired by the creepy/cringe-making/kind of sweet “missed connections” posts on Craigslist. It’s edited by Julia Wertz of The Fart Party. Here’s one by Tom Hart.

The concepts “love” and “awkward” remind us of Conan O’Brien, who is leaving Late Night to move to LA and take over the Tonight Show. Pundits call it a huge ratings risk; we see a vertiginous IQ bump. I’m glad I don’t watch television so I don’t have to choose between Conan and Letterman. Here are Five Unforgettable Conan skits compiled by Esquire. No Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or Masturbating Bear, but they’re hilarious. And Andy Richter will reunite with Conan, not as sidekick but as announcer.

Clive vs. Bank of Evil

February 25, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 4 Comments →


Clive with scar.

Warning: Contains spoilers.

The International opens with a close-up of Clive Owen looking scraggly, stubbly, and sleep-deprived. He’s looking at you. In the rain. SOLD!

Clive Owen playing a guy on the worst day of his life is hotter than any perfectly-styled pretty boy. For starters, he can play men. (Remember how he destroyed Jude Law in two words in The Closer? “You…writer!”) In this. . .banking thriller (not an oxymoron!) by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The Princess and The Warrior—good. Perfume—execrable) he plays a stressed-out Interpol agent investigating a bank’s links to weapons sales. The bank is not only into weapons sales, it also funds coups in Third World countries, arranges assassinations, and is generally eevil. Oh excuse me, amoral. The International actually makes you feel good about the financial meltdown…until you remember that you’re screwed and the financial geniuses who crashed the market will still get their bonuses.

Naomi Watts does what she can with a seriously cardboard role. She wears a lot of mufflers. There’s an impressive shoot-out at the Guggenheim Museum—why didn’t someone think of that before? Also a lot of travelogue: Berlin, Milan, Manhattan, Istanbul. Tykwer demonstrates that the old Hitchcock formula for suspense still works: you know something’s going to happen, the protagonists don’t, eeeeeeeeee.

I recommend you see The International right after you get your credit card bill.

How the recession will affect your hemline

February 25, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Money 2 Comments →


Photo: One of the two falling models from the Herve Leger show.

Skirts will get longer. Here’s a piece of Wall Street folk wisdom: There is a rough correlation between bull markets and bare knees. During boom times, skirts get shorter. In these bearish times, prepare for hemlines to head south. Somewhat in relation, we’ll see something else go north: the age and weight of Playboy centerfolds. Evolutionary biology encourages people to seek “more mature” mates during times of economic insecurity, argue Terry F. Pettijohn and Brian J. Jungeberg in one of the more interesting studies published recently in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. To support their claim, the researchers showed that during recessions, centerfolds get older and, well, rounder. Similar studies have confirmed an identical trend in movie comedies—male and female leads get older during recessions.

In Foreign Policy: The Long Legs of the Crash: 13 Unexpected Consequences of the Financial Crisis by Daniel W. Drezner