Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Every movie we see #118: Jake Gyllenhaal is an absolutely compelling Nightcrawler

November 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies

*Not to be confused with one of the mutants in The X-Men.

No one was free to watch Nightcrawler with us, and we didn’t think it would run for a second week, so we watched it alone. Excellent decision.

Dan Gilroy’s film, shot by the great Robert Elswit, follows a freelance videographer who prowls Los Angeles in the dead of night, shooting footage of urban crime scenes, grisly accidents and high-casualty fires, which he sells to a TV news program. Jake Gyllenhaal, so thin his eyes are popping out of his face, is absolutely compelling as a man in whom the rhetoric of self-help and the motivational industry takes the place of a self. Basically he’s a slithering, bottom-feeding insect in human form. This is what happens when the will to succeed is unhampered by a moral compass.

With Rene Russo as the TV news producer who becomes his enabler, and Riz Ahmed as his hapless “intern”.

Watch it any way you can.

Update: Aha since the new Hunger Games doesn’t open till tomorrow, Nightcrawler has been held over an extra day. Go!

Win 2 tickets to CinemaJam 2014 in our raffle

November 19, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Contest

CinemaJam Pedicab
Pedicab will perform at CinemaJam 2014.

You and a friend can watch the movies Now You See Me and Letters to Juliet in the afternoon, and performances by Pedicab, Itchyworms, Urbandub, Bamboo and other bands at night.

Mark the date: Saturday, 29 November, from 10am to the wee hours at the Greenfield District in Mandaluyong.

To join our raffle, just post your names in Comments. The winner will be announced at midnight.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision.

* * * * *

The winner of two tickets to CinemaJam is Lanilyn Besa. Congratulations! Please email to claim your prize.

The next raffle will be held on Friday.

Paris, beyond macarons and Birkins

November 18, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Places, Traveling

view of paris from montmartre

Paris is beautiful and filthy, like a supermodel with a PhD who doesn’t change her underwear. Or a very hot guy genius with skid marks, except that Paris is obviously feminine. Male or female, it goes without saying that they will cheat on you with everything that moves. And you still would, because it’s Paris.

There is the real risk of getting Stendhal Syndrome—overdosing from the sight of so much beauty that you lose consciousness. Try not to succumb outdoors, as you will either land on dog poop or a homeless person. The homeless are mostly Eastern Europeans begging on the streets. There are shelters where they can spend the night as it’s getting very cold, but apparently it’s safer to sleep outdoors. In Montmartre, which is clearly divided into immigrant and bobo (bohemian bourgeois) sections, the residents have expressed solidarity with the newcomers, providing them with hot food and doing their laundry. Periodically the homeless immigrants are rounded up, given 300 euros, and deported. They come back.

Read our column at

Here’s a very abridged translation of Valerie Trierweiler’s tell-all book about her relationship with French President Francois Hollande.

And a report on how Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin couldn’t name any books by Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano. Oh the scandal.

A flea market in the country

November 18, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Shopping, Traveling


If we lived in Paris we would hardly ever buy anything new. We would furnish our house with things we found in flea markets and vintage stores. There are some huge flea markets in the city, frequented by professional buyers who snap up the good stuff and sell them to collectors on e-Bay. We went to one in the country, where families who have lived there for generations just want to dispose of their grandparents’ things.


The flea market was the size of a hangar and crammed with relics from other people’s lives. It’s a good thing we had only one hour to spend before catching the train, or we’d still be there now, sifting through years of abandoned possessions. We were hoping to unearth some magic object that would choose us to be its next master.


There were shelves and shelves of china and kitchenware. We found an escargot dish for 50 cents. There was a stack of old porcelain that we kept going back to until Kristin turned over a teacup and saw the Limoges label. Sold! The sticker said 3 euros and we thought it was the price per piece, but it turned out to be the price of the lot. Now our cats can eat out of Limoges china (Thank you, bubble wrap).


We were on the lookout for something we could pass off for a missing Juan Luna and sell for Php55 million pesos (with the proper authentication), but all we found were some fake Renoirs.


There were also some massive tribal masks, if you could stand to have them staring at you all day.

Every movie we see # 117: The Drop is dark and exhilarating.

November 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies


This is a great week for the movies, and we haven’t even seen Nightcrawler or Esprit de Corps at the Cinema One festival (or Esoterika Manila, which we wrote but is totally an Elwood Perez movie).

The Drop is terrific. Tough, unsentimental, uncomplicated, brilliantly-acted, excellent use of the pooch. It’s directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael Roskam and based on the Dennis Lehane short story, Animal Rescue. We’ve never seen a Dennis Lehane adaptation we didn’t like—Mystic River, Gone, Baby Gone, Shutter Island. This time Lehane adapts his own story.

If you choosing between The Drop and Interstellar, here’s a comparison you may find useful.


The Hero
Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey with a space ship
The Drop: Tom Hardy with a puppy. They had us at “woof, woof.”

The Female Lead
Interstellar: Anne Hathaway, who can’t help but make us like her.
The Drop: Noomi Rapace, who doesn’t care what we think.

The Blonde
Interstellar: Jessica Chastain
The Drop: Matthias Schoenaerts. Did you see him in Rust and Bone?

The Ghost who sends messages across space and time
Interstellar: The ghost who moves the books
The Drop: James Gandolfini. We still choke up.

The Setting
Interstellar: The universe.
The Drop: Brooklyn.

The Threat
Interstellar: Desertification, famine, food riots
The Drop: Chechen mobsters with slicked back hair. Aiiieeeeee!

The Hole
Interstellar: The black hole near the planets they plan to colonize.
The Drop: The drop, the slot where bookies place bets.

Interstellar: Wow.
The Drop: Tom Hardy doing something we haven’t seen him do before.

The Emotion
Interstellar: Excitement, wonder, filial love.
The Drop: Dread.

The Future
Interstellar: Bleak.
The Drop: What future? And yet it is strangely uplifting.

Man Vs The Universe
Interstellar: We may not be alone in the universe.
The Drop: We are definitely alone in the universe.

Movies and music at the bigger, better CinemaJam, Nov 29 in Greenfield, Mandaluyong

November 16, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music, Sponsored


Following the success of the first-ever movie and music festival in the country, Crizal Transitions promises an even more spectacular CinemaJam this year. A full line-up of outdoor movie screenings, fun activities (zipline, bungee, wall-climbing), art installations, and performances by today’s most exciting bands await festival-goers on November 29, Saturday, at the Greenfield District Central Park in Mandaluyong City. Gates open at 10am, with the action building to the concert at midnight.

Featured bands include Pedicab, Franco, Bamboo, Imago, Itchyworms, and Urbandub. On the double-bill on the giant LED TV are the romantic drama Letters to Juliet starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave, and the box-office hit thriller Now You See Me starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

CinemaJam will also see the unveiling of Crizal Transitions Signature Green. Essilor, the world’s leading manufacturer of optical lenses, and Transitions Optical have partnered to develop the new Crizal Transitions Signature lenses in graphite green, which provide more natural vision and true color perception in a variety of light conditions. Free eyesight consultations will be offered in the Optical Village booth manned by eyecare experts and showcasing the latest innovations from Crizal Transitions.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision, a humanitarian organization focused on building a better world for children.