Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for June, 2009

‘War is a force that gives us meaning.’

June 27, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 3 Comments →

The best action director working in Hollywood today is a woman. Her name is Kathryn Bigelow. Her movie is The Hurt Locker, the intense, gripping, exhilarating story of an American bomb squad in Iraq. I would put my money on Bigelow in a fight with Michael Bay, Gavin Hood, and Tony Scott. She would destroy them with a few well-placed punches; the woman can tell a story with minimal clutter and maximum tension. (She was married, briefly, to James Cameron. What an interesting household.)

More than all the well-meaning Iraq movies of the last few years, The Hurt Locker gets down to a basic truth about war: It’s a drug.

A.O. Scott’s review in the NYT: ‘If “The Hurt Locker” is not the best action movie of the summer, I’ll blow up my car.’

David Denby’s review in TNY: ‘…unlike so many directors today, who jam together crashes, explosions, and people sailing through the air in nonsensical montages of fantasy movement, Bigelow keeps the space tight and coherent. No matter how many times she cuts away, you know exactly where James is in relation to a bomb—whether he’s in the kill zone or far enough away to be safe.’

It just opened in New York, but you know. . .

I officially creep myself out.

June 26, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music, Television 13 Comments →

Michael Jackson died today.

The subject of my Star column today: Michael Jackson. Turned it in Tuesday. I started thinking about him a couple of weeks ago. The trigger was a report on his planned series of London shows. Also I’m editing the Pupil tour diary, and the band dances to ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ in airports.

From Idol to Freakshow in Emotional Weather Report, today in the Star.

Couldn’t the cosmos just send me the winning lottery numbers instead of early obituaries? On the other hand we’ve inadvertently scooped everyone. Yes, this has happened before; no, I don’t take requests.

Woke up to a ton of text messages. Here are my answers.

– You mean literally or metaphorically?
– No, I didn’t do it. If I had the power why are Akiva Goldsman and Michael Bay still alive.
– Alright! Alright! I killed Michael Jackson! No, I will not kill Kobe.
Sige bwisitin mo pa ‘ko, isusulat din kita.
– One senses a disturbance in The Force.
– Yeah well I bought my first Beatles album on December 7, 1981.
– Why can’t my powers be used for good and not evil?!
– Of course Madonna is safe, hindi yun tinatablan.
– It is against Bene Gesserit rules to show off.
– Ironically this is a great career move. He will be fabulously wealthy all over again.

Enough of the “Poor Farrah Fawcett, relegated to a sidebar” laments. As The Count put it, maybe she preferred to go quietly, without fuss. We will always remember her with fondness: a sex symbol who came across as a human being. She was the woman all my gay friends wanted to be when playing Charlie’s Angels (‘I’m Farrah!’ ‘No, I’m Farrah!’ ‘Hindi ikaw si Farrah!’). No matter what she was or wasn’t wearing, she always seemed like the wholesome girl who could be your friend.

I learned from reading Farrah Fawcett’s NYT obit that Bea Arthur died in April this year. Bea, Michael, Farrah—there goes my childhood.

Can I collect my interest in Juan Lunas?

June 26, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books 1 Comment →

Where to look at art: in a bank. Ms Chell Jacob of the BPI Foundation gave us a tour of the BPI art collection at their corporate headquarters on Ayala.

Bencab’s Three Graces, commissioned by the bank.


Plenty of Amorsolos but I’m Amorsolo’d out. Juan Lunas in an office, small enough to stuff in my bag.


The meeting rooms have been named after Filipino artists. The Francisco room contains sketches by the painter Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco, who had worked as production designer on the films of Manuel Conde (Genghis Khan) and Gerardo De Leon (Noli me tangere).

Conde by Botong

Lao Lianbens in the dining room.


The collection is not open to the public, although arrangements can be made for small school groups. You can see the art in the very heavy book Herencia: A Legacy of Art and Progress published by the BPI Foundation and soon to be in bookstores.

Marat, what’ll we do without you?

June 25, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Tennis 3 Comments →

Q. When people look back and say, Hey, two majors, that’s fantastic, but overall the guy has been an underachiever. I know you bristle at that. Do you think there’s any truth at all to that take on you as an under achiever?

MARAT SAFIN: You know what, it’s been ‑‑ in the history of tennis, everybody’s an underachiever. Everybody. Every single person. Every single player is an underachiever. Agassi should have been winning, I don’t know, 15 Grand Slams. Sampras should have been winning 20 Grand Slams. Federer should be winning ‑‑ already should have 25. Rios at least five.

So you know what I’m saying. It’s like everybody’s underachiever. Everybody could do better.

Q. So what should have been your overachiever mark?

MARAT SAFIN: I should probably have win a couple of more, but I’m pretty satisfied with what I did.

The full interview here.

For contrast: Marat on Charlie Rose after his 2000 US Open victory.


Your tennis is too loud

June 25, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Tennis 4 Comments →

If you close your eyes while watching a tennis match on TV, you may think someone’s switched to a porn channel. Grunting, groaning, moaning, shrieking, squealing, yelling. Is it impulse, gamesmanship, or biological signaling? Tennis officials are mulling over penalties for on-court noise.

The rise of grunting in tennis has become one of the most curious sideshows in the sports world. Baseball has steroids. Football has head trauma and Terrell Owens. Tennis has this. The controversy over grunting is reaching maximum interest this week because of Michelle Larcher de Brito, the 16-year-old from Portugal who made a lot of noise at last month’s French Open with both her tennis and her grunt. There has never been one quite like it – a violent squeal released with every stroke, which, at peak intensity, sounds like she’s in pain, ecstasy, or trouble.

The complaints about her in France have put pressure on officials in England, where Wimbledon begins tomorrow. The tournament is considering a crackdown: officially, the offense would be called a “noise hindrance,” and if an umpire declares a grunt too loud, the offender could be charged a point.

Wha-unhhh! A defense of the tennis grunt by Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe.

Transformers 2: Less than meets the eye

June 24, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 11 Comments →

Megatron and Mat

Reviewed by Ricky, Raymond, and Jessica

– One word to describe Michael Bay’s direction: Corny.

– Too busy and frantic, tries too hard to be cute, no one has time for an emotional reaction.

– I know some guys who cried at the Transformers animated movie when a character died. In this movie when someone dies I feel nothing but exhaustion.

– He doesn’t know when to stop, he just throws everything in.

– You didn’t love my Pearl Harbor, and now you will pay!

– Basically this movie was directed by a dick.

– If it were a song it would be Endless Love. Cheese on top of cheese on top of cheese.

– What is the cheesiest Lionel Richie song? Endless Love, All Night Long, or Hello?

– Hello.

– Especially the part in the video where he picks up the phone and sings, Hello.

– Guess the one Lionel Richie song I like.

– That’s easy, Easy.

– I like the cover by Faith No More.

– What’s with all the lens flares?!

– Help, I can’t tell the good robots from the bad robots, to me they all look like. . .robots.

– The humans look orange.

– Shia’s nose is enormous. (You know what they say about guys with big noses. Giant boogers.)

– Megan’s boobs should get separate billing.

– Core audience of Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen: 14-year-old boys.

– Gaah, the soundtrack. There’s my emo rock quota for all of 2009.

– Oh please, not another shot of guys in uniform all in a row walking towards the camera in slow motion.

– Oy and more jets launched from aircraft carriers. There’s a fetish.

– Steven Spielberg should’ve smacked Michael Bay for every hero shot.

– Eek, there’s a poster of an earlier Michael Bay movie.

– Look at Megan’s amazing skin-tight white pants, they can cross a desert without getting dirty!

– Note gleeful destruction of antiquities.

– They took bits from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Battlestar Galactica, everything.

– But John Turturro is always worth watching.

– Josh Duhamel: Ryan Seacrest as a man.

– The last sequence is a football game. Throwing, running, tackling.

– Transformers is really about the American car industry and how it protects the people. Ironically the American car industry has just been declared dead.

– Transformers would be fun if you didn’t feel like you’d been slapped around for two hours, twenty minutes. Then again it’s a movie about cars that are really alien warrior robots.